Lewis Hamilton, inspite of the fears he could retire from Formula 1, is broadly anticipated to line up on the grid for Mercedes in 2022. It will be his 10th season with the staff and only the third time, just after 2013 and 2017, he will start a time without staying the reigning globe champion. With a host of new technical restrictions introduced, there is a greater sense of unpredictability all around how subsequent yr will unfold. And as Hamilton bids for a report-breaking eighth Drivers’ Championship, Categorical Sport looks at several new threats he may perhaps confront in addition to 2021 title-successful rival Max Verstappen.
Receiving the apparent out of the way, Crimson Bull‘s defending champion Verstappen will surely be the major contender for the 2022 driver’s title not named Lewis Hamilton.
The Dutchman doubled his variety of race wins in 2021 and now stands on 20, also boasting 60 podiums (a single-season report 18 of which arrived in the year just long gone), 13 pole positions and 16 quickest laps.
Considering that Sebastian Vettel won his first title in 2010, Nico Rosberg in 2016 is the only driver to earn a solitary championship and not retain it. Which is only due to the fact the German retired quickly right after.
Verstappen has scintillating speed and clearly brilliant skill at the wheel so presented Red Bull provide him with another potent package deal has all the instruments to deny Hamilton nonetheless once more.
He also had several moments of misfortune in the period just gone – these types of as in Budapest. If he can stay clear of comparable cases, he can develop a extremely robust – and probably title-successful – details haul.
An unidentified quantity in a championship-hard auto, George Russell replaces the inconsistent-nevertheless-team-oriented Valtteri Bottas at Mercedes.
That will transform up a dynamic that has worked so brilliantly properly for the Silver Arrows the earlier 5 many years. There’s a purpose Hamilton labelled Bottas “the ideal workforce-mate there has ever been in this sport”.
It continues to be to be viewed how fellow Briton Russell will healthy in, at the very least off observe, presented his type on it for backmarkers Williams. Surely Hamilton will command massive respect from the 23-year-old, but Russell is the long run of the workforce and will be hungry to make his mark from the off.
Having impressed for Williams and in his a single-off race when he stood in for a Covid-stricken Hamilton at the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix, the King’s Lynn indigenous has demonstrated he has the skills that advise he can be at the front of the pack for Mercedes.
But with two motorists competing for the greatest prize, can Mercedes retain some equilibrium? Or will it all go Hamilton vs Rosberg? Harmony in the staff will be as important as just about anything to Hamilton’s hopes of an eighth title as he seeks to get the much better of yet another staff-mate.
“I look forward to using one more gear for up coming yr, now that I am totally adapted with Red Bull,” had been Sergio Perez‘s terms immediately after a difficult still promising debut time with the Milton Keynes-dependent team.
If the richly-knowledgeable Mexican can extra continuously produce some of the sublime moments of talent he showed, such as his defence towards Hamilton in Abu Dhabi, then he can be a menace to the Mercedes for poles, podiums and race wins.
Possibly Perez will not at any time be a championship-winning driver – offered he was outscored 20-2 in qualifying by Verstappen and 19-3 in races – but he can serve as a superior-class No 2 for Red Bull and Verstappen.
That opens up a earth of tactical prospects if Crimson Bull have two drivers continually in the leading 3 or 4 positions in unique.
A outstanding crew player, Mercedes and Hamilton will not be kinds to underestimate Perez offered his skills. If he can make higher regularity, he will be a main asset to Verstappen and his workforce.
The 2022 improvements are created to test and throw up some more contenders at the entrance of the grid, and if Ferrari can sustain their upwards pattern in the manufacturing facility getting enhanced noticeably in 2021 from 2020, Charles Leclerc is as possible as any driver not in a Mercedes or a Purple Bull to be competing for poles, podiums and race wins.
The Monegasque suffered from misfortune this calendar year with group manager Mattia Binotto estimating his driver shed 40 factors by undesirable luck in Monaco and Budapest.
That tally would have witnessed him finish fourth and in advance of Perez and there is great purpose Ferrari are placing all their religion in Leclerc to be their initial championship winner considering the fact that Kimi Raikkonen in 2007.
Leclerc has two wins and 13 podiums, as properly as 9 poles, and he is a sublime driver with excellent racecraft. He’s also nevertheless only 24 like Verstappen, so there is a good deal for him however to master irrespective of owning entered 81 races.
Mercedes’ Toto Wolff admitted: “They have all the source that is desired, and hence, we absolutely have them on the radar.” Ferrari will hope to confirm the Austrian ideal – and they should beware Leclerc.