A Quarter of the Way Through, Which Way Will the F1 Drivers’ Championship Go From Here?

Find all the information on the 2022 F1 World drivers Championship incl. circuits, drivers, teams, results & more.

f1 drivers

The 2022 Formula 1 rule changes were written with the idea of spicing up racing by making the cars more capable of following closely so that drivers can make more overtakes. The result, so far, has been a raging success, with several drivers up at the front, able to compete for wins and podiums. This is great for the sport as it helps to keep existing fans engaged and to attract new ones. In addition to a boost in television viewing figures, more fan engagement leads to an increase in the number of people looking to bet on Grand Prix and futures markets like the Championship winner. Most bookies want to be the go-to platform for these bettors, which is why we see brands like Bet Victor running free bet promotions for new customers.

These bookmakers have been working overtime this season, having to change their odds significantly as the year has progressed. After their duel that went to the wire at the end of 2021, Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen were the pair were the bookies’ favourites going into 2022.

But the struggles that Mercedes have had in the early part of the season has seen the odds of the seven-time world champion winning the title again drift considerably. In fact, while Verstappen leads the futures market with odds of 13/18, Hamilton sits in fifth place, trailing even his teammate George Russell.

As we’ve seen though, a lot can happen still and with just over half a dozen races finished, we’re only a quarter of the way through the 2022 Formula 1 season. There is a lot of time and many races still to go, therefore, the fortunes of these teams and drivers could change dramatically and we could begin to see the tides turn. There are several ways this could play out, here are some of the most likely outcomes.

Mercedes Start Winning

For the first five Grand Prix races, Mercedes appeared to have given their drivers cars fitted with pogo sticks. With the amount of headbanging going on, their drivers looked like they were rocking out in the mosh pit at a Metallica concert rather than driving a race car in the world’s biggest motorsport championship.

But when the F1 circus rocked up at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya for the Spanish Grand Prix, Mercedes boss, Toto Wolf, exclaimed on TV that the team had fixed these issues after finally understanding the cause of the problem.

However, it was clear in Monaco, just a week later, that the issues had not been completely fixed as the two Mercs were back to bouncing around like space hoppers. Some of this may be limited to the Monte-Carlo street circuit though, and it’s entirely possible that the Silver Arrows get on top of their car’s problems and start winning races.

Can they seriously challenge for either of the World Championship titles after this?

Mathematically, yes, but time is running out. After Monaco, Verstappen leads in the drivers’ standings with 125 points, nine more than his closest rival, Charles Leclerc, and 15 more than Sergio Perez.

George Russell, the second driver at Mercedes sits in fourth with 84 points, 41 fewer than Verstappen. Lewis Hamilton, the team’s leader and stand out performer for the last eight years is even further away in sixth place with just 50 points.

Of course, the 75-point gap could be closed with three wins, but that would require all the drivers ahead of Hamilton to not score any points in the meantime. Even if Red Bull or Ferrari have bad weekends, it’s highly unlikely that their four drivers will all retire from three races or that they'll even score points on the lower end of the scale.

Closing the gap in 15 races would require a consistent five-point advantage at every race until the end of the season, requiring Hamilton to win almost every race.

So time’s nearly up for the Mercedes drivers.

f1 championship

Another Title Showdown

The 2021 season ended with both literal and metaphorical fireworks and 2022 could well be the same if things continue as they are. Verstappen and Red Bull appear to have acquired an advantage in the last few races thanks to a flurry of updates to their car, but the cost cap will prevent them from continuing to do that all season.

For that reason, it is highly likely that Ferrari will close back up to them. In recent races, the scarlet cars have been faster in qualifying but the Red Bulls have been able to use increased straight-line speed and DRS to get past them on the straights.

Right now, this seems like the most likely outcome. This will be good for just about everyone, including the sport, the fans, and the teams and drivers involved. The only people it won’t be so good for will be Hamilton, Mercedes, and their fans.

Cost Cap Prevents Participation

With the bulk of the season still to go, it seems like this situation will likely be sorted out and the crisis averted. However, the probability of it occurring is north of zero, so it’s worth considering. After the Spanish Grand Prix, there was a lot of talk in the paddock about teams asking for help from the FIA because they believed they were going to exceed the cost cap. They are claiming that this is a result of higher-than-expected inflation increasing their expenses for energy, freight transport, and the raw materials to build their cars.

Red Bull’s team principal, Christian Horner, actually went so far as to say that the situation could get so dire that several teams would have to skip races to avoid spending too much.

For the leading teams, this would have a dire result on their championship campaigns. After all, three missed races would be enough for Hamilton to claw back his 75-point deficit.

However, F1 personnel are no strangers to hyperbole. It is, therefore, worth putting the comments into perspective as these issues are almost always resolved (perhaps because of the early hyperbole) and the show goes on.

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