It’s awards season! The time of year when we at GrandPrix247 look back on the 2022 Formula 1 season and choose who gets one of our awards. Our driver of the year? Max Verstappen.
The Dutch ace doesn’t only get this award for winning his second F1 Drivers’ Crown in 2022, but for the driver he has become a year from winning his maiden Title.
It may be a cliché to say this, but winning that first Title in 2021 removed all the pressure from Verstappen’s shoulders and that was clear from the way he went about his business in 2022
Sure he had those two moments at the start of the season when his RB18 broke down and he started throwing his toys out of the pram, but can you blame him? Those were two strong blows for his Title defense campaign. keeping in mind how strong Charles Leclerc and Ferrari were at the start of the season.
But then he kept it together and along with his team came back starting from Imola, a weekend Verstappen himself pinpointed as a crucial one for his campaign where he secured the hat-trick – pole, Sprint Race win, and grand prix win.
Out of all 22 races Verstappen was off balance in only three: Monaco, Silverstone, and Interlagos. He delivered his best drives in Hungary and Belgium winning both from way down the grid.
“When in doubt bet Max
Ferrari and Leclerc maintained their qualifying edge, but Verstappen had the upper hand on race days and was always a safe bet to take the win, something we always reflected in our race previews with: “When in doubt, bet Max.”
Verstappen eradicated the errors from his driving this year and became a more rounded driver, but he didn’t become any less exciting, his drive in Hungary maybe one of his best performances this season.
Glitches? Well you could say disobeying his team in Sao Paulo can be a moment that might tarnish his 2022 season, but then you don’t become a multiple F1 Champion without being ruthless, and regardless of what was going on between him and Sergio Perez, the Mexican has wasted lots of points over the season especially over his midseason slump that makes Verstappen’s actions in Brazil rather irrelevant.
Nevertheless, it was a moment that put Verstappen in the spotlight for the wrong reasons, but Red Bull won’t be complaining, especially with what their ace brings to the table, and they’ve been there before with Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber over the “Multi21” saga.
Other than that, it was a perfect season for Verstappen with 15 record wins and a record points scored, and he goes into 2023 as the man to beat and there no reason why he cannot continue winning and going on a Vettel-like streak. (Compiled by Jad Mallak)