Edd Straw's 2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix F1 driver ratings - The Race
Formula 1

Edd Straw’s 2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix F1 driver ratings

Nov 21 2022
By Edd Straw

There might not have been all too much at stake in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, but that wasn’t an excuse to let off for most of the Formula 1 field.

It’s perhaps little surprise that three of the season’s best performers scored nine or above in Edd Straw’s final F1 driver ratings of 2022, while there was a clear split among the four drivers dropping off the grid in terms of how successful their swansong races went.


After each grand prix, The Race will rate each driver’s weekend with a mark out of 10.

An average mark is 5 out of 10, so that score is indicative of a decent drive given the high standard of drivers in F1.

For a more in-depth explanation, read our outline of the system.


Ver Ad Rating 22

Started: 1st Finished: 1st

Qualifying

Took his seventh pole position of 2022 with a 0.228-second advantage over Perez after producing a strong final lap despite being asked to tow his team-mate on the second Q3 runs. He was meant to do the same on the first runs, but a delay firing the car up meant he was late out.

Race

Held the lead at the start then never looked like relinquishing control, making a one-stopper work well to take his 15th win of a remarkable season.

Verdict:

A faultless, if relatively straightforward, run to qualifying and race success.

Per Ad Rating 22

Started: 2nd Finished: 3rd

Qualifying

Looked a pole position threat heading into Q3, but even with Verstappen towing him on the crucial final runs – he was also running slightly more wing – the real battle was to ensure he was ahead of the Ferraris. He was actually the quicker of the Red Bulls in the middle sector, but slower in the first and last sectors and held off Leclerc by four hundredths to bag a front-row slot.

Race

Ran second in the first stint, but struggled to keep the front-right tyre alive. That forced a relatively early pitstop after 15 laps that effectively locked him into a two-stopper. Any hope that his set of hards might make it to the end quickly evaporated, which meant he ceded track position to Leclerc by pitting again that he ran out of time to reclaim the position.

Verdict:

Pace was relatively good, but couldn’t match his team-mate’s tyre management.

Ham Ad Rating 22

Started: 5th Finished: DNF

Qualifying

Pipped Russell to fifth on the grid by 0.003s, although he did lose time through the tight section under the hotel, particularly with a snap coming through the Turn 14 left-hander. But it was always going to be difficult to beat either of the Ferraris.

Race

Took to the run-off in a first-lap scrap with Sainz, holding a fourth position he was later told to give back to the Ferrari driver. With suspicions of floor damage (although the team couldn’t see any on the data), had a difficult race thereafter. He was keen on a two-stopper but the team persuaded him to stick it out on a one-stopper, leaving him fourth and being closed in on by Sainz when a hydraulic problem put him out with three laps remaining.

Verdict:

Good pace, but lap-one wide moment in battle set the tone for a tricky race.

Rus Ad Rating 22

Started: 6th Finished: 5th

Qualifying

Set an almost identical laptime to Hamilton in Q3, although lost a couple of tenths to him through and out of the chicane. Clawed back time in the final sector, but ended up three thousandths off.

Race

Ran at the back of the lead group in the first stint, but lost time at his pitstop to a slow right-rear tyre change that also led to an unsafe release. That earned a five-second penalty served at his second stop, meaning he was guaranteed to stay at the back of the front pack. That left him fifth at the finish after Hamilton’s retirement.

Verdict:

Marginally the slower Mercedes driver, but unlucky in the race.

Lec Ad Rating 22

Started: 3rd Finished: 2nd

Qualifying

Had a few untidy moments on his Q3 lap that meant he missed out on a place on the front row to Perez, although it was enough to put him ahead of Sainz.

Race

Looked destined for a race-long run to third early on, but it soon became clear that Ferrari’s tyre management was better than expected. This allowed him to pull off a one-stop strategy, jumping Perez then managing the gap to the closing Red Bull to the chequered flag.

Verdict:

Not perfect in qualifying but outstanding in the race.

Sai Ad Rating 22

Started: 4th Finished: 4th

Qualifying

Sainz looked to have the pace to shade Leclerc, but he struggled with tyre prep ahead of his final lap. That led to a slightly untidy lap, with the final sector – and the last corner in particular – ensuring he was just behind his team-mate.

Race

It took Sainz a little time to assert himself over Hamilton in the first stint, although he ended up behind him again thanks to the Mercedes driver’s one-stop. While Hamilton’s retirement handed him the place, he was closing in on him and may well have taken the position anyway.

Verdict:

A good weekend although not as effective as Leclerc.

Ric Ad Rating 22

Started: 13th Finished: 9th

Qualifying

Made it through to Q3, albeit with a gap of a couple of tenths to Norris and with only one set of tyres to use in the final stage of qualifying. Lost a little time to his team-mate at the first corner, then to oversteer in the middle of the chicane and felt he had left a tenth or so on the table.

Race

Having been passed by Stroll, Ricciardo overtook Schumacher early on to run 13th and ran to lap 19 before making his pitstop. This meant a one-stopper was possible, and although Stroll and Ocon were able to pass him having fallen behind when they stopped for a second time, Ricciardo gained places over Vettel and Tsunoda.

Verdict:

A respectable farewell McLaren weekend for Ricciardo.

Nor Ad Rating 22

Started: 7th Finished: 6th

Qualifying

While he wasn’t entirely at one with the car, particularly under braking, he did enough to be best of the rest in seventh place with time gained over Ocon in the chicane key to doing so.

Race

As is often the case, rose above the rest of the midfield, holding seventh for much of the race then picking up sixth when Hamilton retired. Having only one set of hards compared to Ocon’s two did make life difficult, but he managed the closing gap well in the final stint to ensure he stayed just out of reach of the Alpine.

Verdict:

Achieved the best possible result in qualifying and the race.

Oco Ad Rating 22

Started: 8th Finished: 7th

Qualifying

Ocon felt this weekend was one of the best of the year in terms of the steps made through practice and then qualifying. He felt he “nothing was left” on the table, stringing together his three best sectors but falling just short of outpacing Norris.

Race

Spent the first stint in eighth place working hard to hold off Vettel, although that battle was won once Aston Martin committed to the one-stop strategy. Ocon held position ahead of Stroll and thanks to being on hards in the final stint was able to close rapidly on medium-shod Norris, feeling that he needed just one more lap to have been able to mount an attack. But he also gained a place to Hamilton’s retirement, leaving him seventh.

Verdict:

Was Alpine’s spearhead and did a great job to hold off Vettel in the first stint.

Alo Ad Rating 22

Started: 10th Finished: DNF

Qualifying

Felt he didn’t have the pace of his team-mate after a difficult run through practice, with an untidy run through the second half of the lap – particularly in the chicane – costing him significant time and ensuring elimination in Q2.

Race

Alonso held 10th in the first stint and ran longer than those around him before his first stop. That meant he fell behind Stroll, but he was on course for ninth place when he retired with water leak.

Verdict:

Was the second-best Alpine driver.

Gas Ad Rating 22

Started: 17th Finished: 14th

Qualifying

Gasly was eliminated in Q1 despite making three runs on a weekend where he was never happy with the balance of the car. Traffic on prep laps didn’t help, but he always looked to be the second-best of the AlphaTauri drivers, lapping just over two tenths off Tsunoda in the first part of qualifying.

Race

Wasn’t in the mood to talk about the race after a long evening toiling away on a one-stopper that yielded a lapped 14th. Overtaking the odd Haas was about as good as it got.

Verdict:

An underwhelming end to a great stint with the team.

Tsu Ad Rating 22

Started: 11th Finished: 11th

Qualifying

Might just have had the pace to sneak into Q3, but a lockup into the chicane cost him some time and left him 12th. However, he did have a decisive pace advantage over Gasly.

Race

Given he ran 11th in the first stint, he was in the mix for points. But he was undercut by Stroll then fell behind one-stopping Ricciardo when he pitted for the second time having struggled with tyre degradation. Those two lost places meant he was 11th at the finish after gaining two places to the retirements of Hamilton and Alonso.

Verdict:

A better performance to end the season than the result suggests.

Vet Ad Rating 22

Started: 9th Finished: 10th

Qualifying

According to Aston Martin performance director Tom McCullough, Vettel’s Q2 lap was “probably one of his best laps of the year”. He showed mighty pace through Turn 6/7 and the first corner, setting a similar pace in Q3 to bank ninth place and ensure his final qualifying session in F1 was a strong one.

Race

Spent the first stint of the race trying hard to find a way round Ocon. But having opted for a one-stopper with a long first stint, he lost time in the pack after his stop and could only climb back to 10th. He chased fellow one-stopper Ricciardo, who pitted six laps earlier, to the end but couldn’t make a pass.

Verdict:

Fast, combative and deserving of finishing a couple of places higher.

Str Ad Rating 22

Started: 14th Finished: 8th

Qualifying

Stroll was satisfied with his Q2 lap, although it proved to be almost four tenths slower than Vettel’s. That was down to time lost in the first corner and through the chicane, which made the difference between making Q3 or not for Stroll.

Race

Gained two places to run 12th early on. He undercut Tsunoda and Alonso thanks to making his first stop on lap 13, gaining another place thanks to Vettel’s one-stop strategy. That established him in ninth place, which became eighth when Hamilton retired.

Verdict:

Average qualifying but a decent race drive.

Lat Ad Rating 22

Started: 20th Finished: DNF

Qualifying

While not happy with his overall pace, Latifi felt he got what he could out of the car with a decent lap in Q1 that left him just 0.026s behind Albon – albeit with the advantage of not having compromised tyre prep.

Race

Got ahead of Bottas on the opening lap but soon dropped to last. Didn’t have as strong race pace as Albon did and was on his way to last place even before first Schumacher booted him into a spin. He retired late on with an electrical problem.

Verdict:

A low-key Williams farewell in which he made little impression.

Alb Ad Rating 22

Started: 19th Finished: 13th

Qualifying

Hopes were high heading into qualifying after showing strong pace in practice, but congestion on the prep lap meant that Albon didn’t have the tyres in the right window at the start of his lap. That resulted in a disappointing final attempt that only just kept him ahead of Latifi as he was unable to show his true pace.

Race

Williams described Albon’s drive as “aggressive but disciplined”, turning 19th on the grid into a 13th-place finish. Opted for a medium/hard/medium two-stop strategy that got him to the periphery of the points, although he was passed by Zhou on the final lap.

Verdict:

Tyre temperature disaster in qualifying ruined a weekend when Albon showed great pace.

Zho Ad Rating 22

Started: 15th Finished: 12th

Qualifying

Produced a good lap in the first stage of qualifying to go ninth fastest. Although he did improve in Q2, it wasn’t by enough to threaten the top 10 on a weekend where he didn’t feel there was much more pace in the car.

Race

Climbed to 14th early on, although like his team-mate his strategy was distorted by the desire to get in the way of the Aston Martins. Despite making an earlier-than-necessary first stop to undercut Vettel, he managed to climb to 12th after this second stop.

Verdict:

A good finish to a solid rookie season.

Bot Ad Rating 22

Started: 18th Finished: 15th

Qualifying

Bottas was frustrated to have qualifying ruined by traffic on his prep laps in Q1, leaving him down on grip and well off the pace of team-mate. Spent much of the lap sliding around and missed Q2 by just over a tenth.

Race

Opted to start on hards in order to hang around in the hope of causing problems for the Aston Martins when they pitted to help protect Alfa Romeo’s sixth in the championship. That approach paid off, although having dropped to last after being passed by the Williams drivers on the first lap it was only the Haas drivers who crossed the line behind him.

Verdict:

Had pace, but Q1 tyre troubles and spoiler-focused strategy destroyed any chance of a result.

Mag Ad Rating 22

Started: 16th Finished: 17th

Qualifying

Struggled with traffic on his final prep lap in Q1, which meant the front tyre temperatures were low at the start of his last flier. That meant he lost time in the first part of the lap and was eliminated in Q1 despite being only just over a tenth slower than team-mate Schumacher.

Race

With the Haas off the pace and starting from a lowly grid position, Magnussen was on a hiding to nothing. He was shuffled back from 15th to 18th early on having started on the hards. Finished last of the runners, behind his team-mate, on a one-stopper. “Who cares,” was his summary when asked about the strategy for a race that was never going to yield a result.

Verdict:

An average weekend in a car that wasn’t competitive.

Msc Ad Rating 22

Started: 12th Finished: 16th

Qualifying

Signed off his Haas career with a Q2 appearance, quicker than Magnussen, but didn’t quite have the pace to threaten the top 10. But considering Haas had struggled in practice, Q2 was a good result.

Race

Ran an orthodox two-stop strategy, beating only his team-mate but also earning a five-second penalty for booting Latifi’s Williams into a spin at the hairpin.

Verdict:

Good in qualifying, but clumsy incident ruins his rating.

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