2022 Mathematical Driver Rankings

C Tier

17) Lance Stroll, 72% (⬇4)

Aston Martin continue to under deliver in Formula One, and as a result Lance Stroll often faded into the background. Whilst Stroll’s average qualifying and finishing positions were both below Vettel’s, the gap to the 4 time world champion was by no means embarrassing. However, the difference of a couple of places has a huge impact on results to a team that was regularly on the cusp of scoring points. Only two finishes higher than 10th compared poorly to seven for Vettel, despite the German driver starting 2 fewer races.

The model’s been pretty steady with its rating of Stroll, and a conclusion of “good enough for F1” is still there, even if it functions as a back handed compliment of sorts.

16) Nicholas Latifi, 73% (⬇4)

Whilst Latifi has faced his fair share of criticism across his career, the model has always been positive (overly so!) about the young Canadian. Latifi’s rating even rose in the early races of 2022, due to most of his career rating being a drawn from Russell, whose rating was also rising.

However, 2022 gave us a comparison for Latifi against a more established teammate, and the result was a crash down to reality: He was a step behind Albon in almost all metrics. Worse still for his reputation, de Vries scored points in a mid-season debut, whereas Latifi had recorded a best result of 12th up until that point despite considerably more experience.

His season was largely saved by a strong performance in Japan (see the jump in his rating on the graph below). His race may have been aided by a canny decision to switch tyres at the right time, but the pit stop only jumped him to 8th. Given he eventually finished 9th (after being overtaken by George Russell), it was a well earnt reward for the struggling driver. 16th place probably still flatter’s Latifi a little, given he was rarely on his teammate’s pace. As seen below, his ranking dips further once reliability is accounted for.

15) Yuki Tsunoda, 74% (⬆3)

AlphaTauri slumped towards the back of the midfield in 2022, but Tsunoda continued to inch forwards in F1. Although his ranking hasn’t jumped up massively, he has closed the gap to the midfield pack above. Even his poor rookie season rating is also better in hindsight, with the additional data of this year meaning he’s now not only ranked above the two Haas drivers, but Giovinazzi as well.

These are all small steps though, and he can he can be considered lucky to secure a drive for 2023, given that the gap to Gasly was still generally evident. AlphaTauri have been ruthless in the past, and competent as Tsunoda is, few would claim he’s the next Vettel or Verstappen. His task of leading the team next year is not an easy one, and if he is overshadowed by de Vries (in potential if not in points) then it’s hard to see his F1 career continuing.

14) Valterri Bottas, 74% (⬆1)

The model considers the Finn to be a small step up from Giovinazzi and an aging Kimi Räikkönen, and there’s no doubt that Bottas is still packing plenty of speed. This was particularly evident in qualifying, along with the early part of the season where the car was most competitive.

The rookie teammate means the model largely draws a blank on the specifics of this year, but any driver that scores almost 90% of the team’s points must be doing something right.

Like Magnussen, Bottas' rankings barely moved due to a rookie teammate. The order of the 4 drivers remained near constant throughout the season, before Latifi jumped Stroll in Japan.

B Tier

13) Daniel Ricciardo, 81% (⬇7)

The model considers this to be Ricciardo’s worst year in F1, and the only time he’s been ranked in the bottom half of the gird across a whole season. Norris had almost as many points in 4 races than Ricciardo managed all season, and the surprising gap between them in 2021 only grew.

The model’s concluded that Ricciardo’s troubles weren’t quite as bad as they looked on paper, and that Norris is an absolute top tier F1 driver. Still, McLaren hired him to lead the team and deliver the performances he managed versus Vettel and Verstappen at Red Bull. Compared to this lofty ambition, the season has been a disaster, even more so than the last one.

12) Sergio Pérez, 82% (⬆2)

The early season promise for Pérez ebbed away. Whilst the car improved over time, it tended against his driving style and towards Verstappen’s. Six races into the season, Pérez was riding high after his Monaco victory and within 15 points of the championship lead. Six races later this had ballooned to 85 points, and it was almost 150 by the season’s end.

The likelihood of Pérez ever launching a real championship challenge is slim, but his role at Red Bull is similar to other drivers in strong teams, and he’s often there when needed. Perhaps the best example of this was Singapore, winning when Verstappen had a (rare) off race. Overall Pérez has had another solid but generally unspectacular season for Red Bull, which will probably suit the team just fine.

11) Fernando Alonso, 82% (⬇3)

A frustrating season for Alonso. His points score was actually identical to 2021 (81 points each), but 2022 featured many wasted opportunites due to bad luck and poor reliability. These incidents are almost certainly responsible for him falling behind teammate Ocon in the standings, and Alonso has the biggest jump of anyone once the Alpine’s unreliability is accounted for.

Behind it all were some high quality drivers, with his wheelie-crash and subsequent recovery in America a prime example of his willingness to fight on. His rating was pretty disastrous early on in the season, but gradually recovered, even if it was unable to reach the lofty heights one might expect from a driver rated so well by the model.

10) Pierre Gasly, 84% (0)

Gasly found it harder to make headlines when the car was less competitive, but was still generally the more competitive AlphaTauri driver. Once he got points on the board his rating was pretty stable.

The comparison with Ocon will be fascinating to see next year. Both Sainz and Albon have rejuvenated their career at new teams, and Gasly has a fantastic opportunity to do the same at a team that’s consistently teasing a breakthrough.

Ratings for Gasly, Alonso, Perez and Ricciardo. Perez's rankings decreased before levelling off. Ricciardo, Gasly and (particularly) Alonso saw their rankings increase across the year.

9) Alexander Albon, 84% (N/A)

Williams were always going to struggle to replace the departing Russell, but Albon slotted into the role very quickly. Whilst the team remained near the back of the grid, Albon’s advantage over Latifi is pretty comparable to what Russell achieved last year, which is no small achievement given how Russell’s career has continued to develop. Given this, and the fact he was returning to the sport after a year away, his return of just 4 points doesn’t quite do his season justice. A contract extension was well deserved.

8) Sebastian Vettel, 85% (⬆3)

Whilst Aston Martin continued to slide down the order from their lofty 4th place in 2020, Vettel’s seasons continued to improve from his 2020 slump. Easily outracing Stroll, and even equaling Ricciardo’s points total despite a clearly inferior car and 2 fewer races, Vettel’s retirement is certainly not caused by a lack of racing ability.

Whilst the podium heroics of last year were beyond the car, the model thinks Vettel was even better this year, and it was only a couple of isolated performances from Stroll that stopped Vettel threatening an A tier.

7) Esteban Ocon, 86% (⬆2)

As with Vettel above, the nature of 2022 meant Ocon’s peaks were significantly lower than last year, but his consistent points finishes were reflective of the competitiveness of the car. He matched Alonso for much of the season, which is obviously worthy of praise. Even if that was somewhat aided by his teammate’s reliability woes, it still speaks volumes for how far he’s developed as a driver. He also avoided all of the drama around Alpine’s second driver for 2023, and instead focusing on what he was paid to do.

There’s still a question mark over whether he can further progress, as the model’s current assessment is that 2022 was very good, but probably near the peak of what he can deliver.

Ratings for Ocon, Vettel and Albon. Vettel spent much of the season clear of them both, but was ultimately pipped by Ocon in the final race.

4 thoughts on “2022 Mathematical Driver Rankings

  1. Acescheil

    That really makes me curious to see how taking into account DNF/DNS will change McLaren 2015, Raikkonen 2005 and if you ever will go as far back as redoing some seasons in the ’70 and earlier.
    And one question: if you are gonna do some of the rankings of the previous season accounting for reliability, will you need to do the ranking based on that season alone? Or will you also take into account for the ranking the performance of the driver in the other seasons, even if the other seasons don’t take reliability into account?

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    1. formula1stat Post author

      I’m also intrigued about Räikkönen in the McLaren and some of the older years! You’ve identified a weakness of the DNF approach for 2022, that it takes every season into account but only DNFs in 2022.

      The idea is to go back through every season, although it will take some time as a lot of the input will be manual. Luckily we’re in the off-season. The aim is to have it all up and running by the start of the 2023 season, or failing that, to have it go back far enough so that modern seasons will be minimally affected by any further changes.

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      1. Acescheil

        I’ve got 2 questions:
        1. How are you dealing with DNFs when the driver completed at least 90% of the race and therefore is still classified?
        2. If you’re answer to the first question was ‘I count them as proper DNFs’ then how are you going to deal with the situations in which a driver retired, but completed enough laps to be classified AND classified in a point scoring position?
        I was thinking about a solution to the second would be to count the situations as DNFs and also taking away the points they scored in that race to the total at the end of the year, but I don’t know if you’re can do that without rewriting a huge chunk of the algorithm

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