Skip to content

Formula 1: Karun Chandhok ranks the top five drivers of 2022 so far as Lewis Hamilton joins young crop

Sky Sports F1 expert Karun Chandhok shares his ranking and insight on the five best drivers so far this season; There are nine races left in 2022, starting with the Belgian GP this weekend, live on Sky Sports F1 on Sunday at 2pm

From the youngster who has proved 2021 was not a one-off to the man who seemingly has "no weaknesses" in the car, Sky Sports F1's Karun Chandhok has given his verdict on the top five drivers so far this season.

Check out Karun's list and his explanations below ahead of the sport's return this weekend, with the Belgian Grand Prix live on Sky Sports F1.

Practice begins on Friday, with Sunday's race at 2pm.

5. Lando Norris, McLaren

The "best of the rest" has continued to build on his breakout season in 2021.

Despite a complete change in the regulations, Lando has emerged as the clear team leader at McLaren, with an 11-2 qualifying score and an average gap of 0.338 seconds against Daniel Ricciardo.

He has got exactly four times as many points as his team-mate as well, all of which has probably prompted this controversial battle to sign Oscar Piastri as a replacement for 2023.

The orange cars started the season on the back foot, with all sorts of braking issues, but once they got over that hump of the opening two rounds, Lando has finished in the top six four times.

Also See:

With Mercedes improving their pace, he is more often than not the leading contender to be in seventh and ahead of the Alpines in their battle for midfield honours. A strong start proving last season wasn't a one off.

4. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes

It's been a strangely quiet start to the season for Lewis. He was clearly not at all happy with the car in the opening few races and suffered more than George Russell, but once we got to Barcelona and the team started to unlock some speed, Lewis has taken things up a notch as well.

The qualifying score may be equal, but Lewis has beaten George in the last five races in a row.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Ahead of this weekend's Belgian Grand Prix, we look back at some of the most memorable moments from previous races at Spa.

As I've said in previous columns, I feel like the post-2018 Lewis Hamilton is different to the one from years before where he's fully recognised that the points and prizes come in the races and therefore it's crucial to get the car in the window he likes for the longer stints, even if that compromises his outright qualifying speed.

He may be 12 points behind George in the points table at the moment, but those dreadful weekends in Saudi Arabia and Imola seem a long time ago. This inter-team battle will be fun to watch!

3. George Russell, Mercedes

The young Brit has had a stellar start to his time at Mercedes, matching Lewis 6-6 so far with an average of just 0.069 between them in qualifying.

As a new boy to a team, up against statistically the greatest qualifier of all time, that's damn impressive. The pole position lap in Budapest was probably the best one we've seen of the season so far.

George's approach to calmly working through the problems of the temperamental W13 while also being bold to gamble on set ups has received praise from the team.

There's absolutely no doubt that if Mercedes have a car that is ready to start fighting for wins regularly, then Russell is ready to deliver those. However, his biggest challenge is still the man on the other side of the pit garage.

2. Charles Leclerc, Ferrari

If you factor in the 32 points Leclerc lost from driver error (Imola and France), the strategic errors (Monaco, Silverstone and Budapest) which probably cost another 36 points, plus the reliability failures (Baku and Spain) that cost 40 points, then the Ferrari man would be 28 points ahead of Max instead of 80 behind him.

But sadly for him and the team, the world championship isn't decided on hypotheticals so they have a mountain to climb while hoping for some bad luck for the opposition in order to get themselves back into contention.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

As Formula One prepares to return after the summer break, we take a look back at how Max Verstappen built an 80-point lead over title rival Charles Leclerc.

Leclerc has once again shown incredible speed in qualifying, leading team-mate Carlos Sainz 8-2 so far in the sessions without penalties or issues. His Saturday performances in Spain and Monaco in particular were simply sensational.

On too many occasions, the Red Bull has seemed the faster car on a Sunday, but in races like Austria the tables were turned and Leclerc delivered a masterclass in race management to take the win. He needs more of those in the run to Abu Dhabi.

1. Max Verstappen, Red Bull

The Dutchman came into this season with the huge legion of Hamilton fans calling him an unworthy world champion, but he's kept his head down, avoided the distractions and has built a campaign around supreme consistency and speed.

Eight wins from the first 13 races has been brilliant in itself, but the manner in which Max has delivered some of those wins by calmly picking his moments to overtake and seize opportunities is a clear indication of a driver who has added title-battling experience to the already prodigious amount of god-given talent.

There's seemingly no weakness now, which is ominous for the opposition, not just this year but in the future too.

Around Sky