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F1 2022

Our highlights of the thrilling 2022 F1 season

With several talking points emerging on and off track during the 2022 F1 season, the RacingNews365.com journalists have picked out their highlights of the year.

France start
To news overview © Red Bull Contentpool

The 2022 F1 season gave fans lots of memorable moments, both on and off the track.

As the year draws to a close, the RacingNews365.com editorial team have selected their highlights of an action-packed campaign.

Rory Mitchell

The Spanish Grand Prix was hot. An unusual heatwave had appeared over most of Europe early into summer, meaning it hit 35°C on most days.

I can remember standing under the grandstand in between the sessions along with everyone else to get shade, and one fan told me they spent the entire race there instead of in their grandstand seat!

I was expecting the normal precession at the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona, but we actually got one of the most entertaining races of the year.

Both Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz spun off bizarrely at Turn 4, enabling George Russell to take second place.

For some of the stick Russell has been getting for his wheel-to-wheel combat, his defensive driving was exemplary at the Spanish Grand Prix.

Using the outside line to stay ahead of Verstappen into Turn 1 was impressive, especially when you consider Pierre Gasly and Lance Stroll crashed into each other in the same move a couple of laps later.

I was sitting at Turn 9 when Charles Leclerc's Ferrari started slowing, eventually leading to his retirement and turning the three-way scrap between Russell, Verstappen and Sergio Perez into a fight for the win.

I don't think the TV cameras picked it up, but Verstappen had a massive moment exiting Turn 8, half spinning his RB18 then correcting it into a straight line. It was impressive car control, but you could sense he was getting agitated behind Russell.

He eventually overtook after the Mercedes driver appeared to struggle with tyres, but I reckon a more aggressive strategy from the team would've sealed the win and a much-needed vote of confidence in the W13.

It turned out to be one of 2022's main storylines, which is why it wasn't too much of a surprise when Russell won in Brazil instead of Lewis Hamilton.

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	© XPB

Jake Nichol

There are only two things I care about when watching a Grand Prix, or indeed any motor race: everyone comes back safe, and that it has been a good race.

But unfortunately good races are rather rare in F1 as the idea of putting the fastest guy first on the grid and letting everyone go usually leads to them scampering off into the distance.

But every so often, we get a genuine shock. These are the days that make Grand Prix racing - the underdog having their day and pulling out a win, or indeed pole position.

That's why the Brazilian Grand Prix is my race of the season.

At the start of 2022, you'd probably have got better odds on Lord Lucan being found riding Shergar while recording the UK Christmas Number 1 with Tupac in tow than Kevin Magnussen claiming a pole position in a Haas. Anything to stop LadBaby getting Number 1 again.

Statisticians would of course argue that Magnussen only claimed pole for the sprint race and that George Russell actually started the race from 'pole', but the record books will officially credit Magnussen with the accolade.

The dawning realisation from the Dane that it would indeed be him on pole at Interlagos and celebrations in the Haas garage were heart-warming.

For a team who has been through the F1 dumps over recent years, they deserved a little bit of Grand Prix magic sprinkled their way - as did Magnussen who is a very decent driver, if not an outstanding talent in the mould of Russell.

It's also nice to see new winners adding themselves to the list, with Russell doing an excellent job to fend off Lewis Hamilton for the win after the late safety car.

Seeing just how lost Mercedes were at the start of the season, to record a one-two on merit in São Paulo was testament to their ability to solve a crisis. They'll be back in the hunt in 2023.

However, while Brazil was my favourite F1 race of the season (who can remember a dud race there?), it was not my favourite motorsport moment from 2022.

That has to go to Ross Chastain's insane 'video-game' move at Martinsville in the NASCAR Playoffs.

Heading into the final 20 second or so lap, Chastain needed two spots to advance to the final, championship-deciding race.

So, he went and got them by pinning the throttle and riding the wall around Turns 3 and 4.

To make it all the more 'OMG', he knocked out Denny Hamlin in the process - the two drivers having engaged in an on-track rivalry for most of the season after Chastain's aggressive driving in St Louis.

Motorsport, eh?

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	© XPBimages

Anna Francis

Seeing Max Verstappen and Red Bull's increasingly untouchable display throughout 2022 was impressive; while some fans may not enjoy a period of such dominance, the skill involved in this kind of feat always deserves credit.

For me, though, my highlight of the year happened to be a race that proved to be one of the few occasions where things did not go Verstappen's way.

This was the British Grand Prix, an event that unfortunately did not start in the best manner after a frightening crash involving Zhou Guanyu at the first corner. The Alfa Romeo driver was thankfully unhurt in the incident, a testament to the safety measures of modern F1.

But, after the race was restarted, the action across the 52-lap encounter was thrilling to watch. Carlos Sainz took his debut victory from pole position, but not without a fight.

Verstappen stole the lead from the Spaniard in the early stages, but an issue with his Red Bull dropped him down the field. Next Sainz faced pressure from teammate Charles Leclerc, while strategic mishaps from Ferrari helped Lewis Hamilton to close in.

Following a late-race Safety Car, a showdown ensued in the closing stages, with Hamilton, Sergio Perez and Leclerc battling it out for second, as the ever-eager Fernando Alonso looked to join in too.

Sainz held on to win, with Perez taking second and Hamilton clinching a popular home podium, while Verstappen finished down in seventh.

As well as Sainz taking his first F1 victory, there were other feel-good results down the field. Mick Schumacher claimed his debut points in the sport after a long wait, with his friend Sebastian Vettel also joining him in the top 10.

It was a memorable day at Silverstone, and perhaps a nice contrast from the controversial clash between Verstappen and Hamilton at the event one year earlier.

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	© XPB

Luke Murphy

As a fan of the underdog stories of Formula One, my unquestioned highlight of the season is Kevin Magnussen's incredible Pole Position at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

In one of those tricky wet/dry sessions, the fact that the Haas driver was already in the Q3 top ten shootout was a great achievement.

With there being time for just one slick-tyre run in Q3 (before Russell's crash), Magnussen was the driver to hold his nerve and seal top spot and a first F1 Pole, to the delight of pretty much everybody interested in Formula 1. Thankfully he was able to hold on for a Sprint race point. Quite the story for a driver who might've assumed his F1 career was over twelve months beforehand!

Williams have frequently been the team associated with 'plunky underdog' status in recent years, and had their own underdog story at the Italian GP.

Nyck de Vries was drafted in to replace the hospitalised Alex Albon, and took advantage of the low-drag Williams to secure a ninth place at Monza.

It was a remarkable drive which earned him the ultimate reward of a full-time race seat for 2023, the ultimate advert for making the most of your opportunities!

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	© XPBimages

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