The last Grand Prix almost buried the intrigue in the fight for the title of world champion and the winner of the Constructors’ Cup. However, race brought a lot of reasons for reflection.
Red Bull is the absolute leader in 2022
The victorious calm of the Austrian team can be characterized by the phrase of Max Verstappen on the radio immediately after the finish: “How did Sergio finish? The fourth? Great, another +7 points in the overall standings for us.” It’s hard to imagine that after last year’s battles with Hamilton in every race, Perez cared about his teammate’s place at the finish.
Now everyone at Red Bull is relaxed, enjoying the process and the victories. The latter is already in 8 in 12 races of the season. Verstappen’s lead in the individual standings reached 63 points, and Red Bull is 82 points ahead of the competition. Such a lag is almost impossible to win back. Although in the case of Sergio Perez’s failures and solving his problems, Ferrari may still try to impose a fight in the team standings.
Mercedes is the best in terms of reliability and loss minimization
After almost every qualification this season, the German team is written off in the race. However, the last four Grands Prix show that the Silver Arrows look very good at a racing pace. Verstappen’s pace is certainly far away, and the Ferrari is slightly ahead. But in France, Perez was left behind in the face-to-face fight, which was a great sign, as was the first double podium of the season. Another feature of the current Mercedes is the ability to squeeze the maximum in any situation. Russell had some minor mistakes in two races, and there is nothing else to remember by and large.
If we talk about competitors, then Ferrari has not had clean races for a long time – then a mistake in tactics, then a delay at the pit stop, then a mistake by the pilots themselves. Therefore, it is very rare to see two pilots of the Italian team in the TOP 5 at the finish line. Red Bull is also sometimes unlucky, especially Perez. And Verstappen drove through the wreckage in the UK, which is why he lost the victory. And Mercedes is already getting closer to Ferrari in the Constructors’ standings with stable finishes – only 44 points behind.
“Small” teams are sinking lower and lower
The beginning of the season in this regard gave a wonderful intrigue. Kevin Magnussen on Haas and Valtteri Bottas on Alfa Romeo regularly scored points. Gradually, progress was made in Alfa Tauri, and Alex Albon was gaining credit points on a very modest Williams. If we take the last few races, we can note the following. Bottas has not scored points for a long time, Alfa Tauri with an update package in France looked even slower, and Aston Martin scores points only with a large gathering of competitors.
In this regard, only Haas looks good – Mick Schumacher scored points in the last races. In France, Magnussen could have done it, but a fine for changing the engine prevented it.
Now both Alpin cars regularly get into the TOP 10, and Lando Norris usually scores points. So it turns out that if the leaders have no problems, then the rest are fighting only for the 10th position.
Let’s say “THANK YOU” to the new rules
Many people have been waiting for the transition to the new regulations, and we can sum up the first results: expectations are being met so far. On some tracks, we see a wheel-to-wheel struggle and bright overtaking. Of course, most overtaking takes place due to DRS. But it is precisely the other aerodynamics that allows you to stay behind the competitor’s car. All this leads to the fact that the pilots can fight side by side for several turns in a row. Of course, this is not yet a return to the golden time of Formula 1 in terms of overtaking, but it is already a big step forward.