As the dust settles on another intense F1 season, drivers and teams can take stock of the year and figure out where their strengths and weaknesses are. Which teams will have finished the season wishing that they had eked out more performance from their drivers? The RacingNews365.com writers assessed each driver and came up with their final 2022 driver rankings, with the results of the bottom five as follows:
Nicholas Latifi - Rating: 5.0
The Canadian entered his third full Formula 1 with a new teammate in the form of Alex Albon which, given the promotion of his 2020-2021 teammate George Russell, represented a fresh opportunity for him to assert his place in the sport. Albon, who had had a year out of the sport, was immediately faster and began making the most of any half-opportunities to give the struggling some team points. Both drivers had their fair share of collisions, but Latifi's pace deficit meant he was unable back up Albon's points charges. A poor performance at Monza against stand-in driver Nyck de Vries likely sealed his fate for 2023. His highlights included a strong points finish after a brilliant strategy call at the interrupted Japanese Grand Prix, a Q3 appearance at the British GP, and a P1 result in a bizarre ending to the third practice session for the Hungarian GP.
Daniel Ricciardo - Rating: 5.0
The eight-time Grand Prix winner was the unfortunate victim of one of the most one-sided battles this season. Qualifying was 20-2 in teammate Lando Norris' favour, and the Australian finished the season 85 points behind. Ricciardo's defeat against Norris in last year's battle was forgiven by his sensational win at the 2021 Italian Grand Prix, but this season saw the gap between them widen. Clumsy incidents at the Emilia Romagna (collision with Sainz), Brazilian (collision with Magnussen) and Mexican (tangle with Tsunoda) Grands Prix partly helped swing McLaren's battle for P4 in Alpine's favour. A strong drive to P5 in Singapore (albeit 30s behind his teammate) and a feisty drive to P7 in Mexico offered reminders of Ricciardo's abilities, but how easy will it be for him to find his way back onto the grid after a season of being Red Bull's reserve driver?
Lance Stroll - Rating: 5.5
Lance Stroll's below-par performances versus teammate Sebastian Vettel will probably be written off as part of Aston Martin's transitional season, where the team were mostly fighting to recover from a poor start after failing to make the best use of the technical regulation reset. Where Vettel made most of the infrequent opportunities to haul big points to drag the team back up in the Constructors' Standings, Stroll was often in the wars. Stroll's chances of replicating Vettel's strong pace in Azerbaijan were thwarted by qualifying crashes, and his chances of capitalising on Aston Martin's car performance in the Circuit of the Americas were ended by a poorly-timed defence against Fernando Alonso, resulting in a scary crash. A similarly-misjudged defence against his teammate in Brazil did little to help his cause. There were, however, flashes of pace. His seventh place qualifying result at COTA was the team's best of the season, and he equalled the team's best finish with a 6th place at the wet Singapore race.
Yuki Tsunoda - Rating: 5.5
With AlphaTauri struggling with their overweight car, the Italian team dropped to P9 in the Constructors' Championship, with both Tsunoda and teammate Pierre Gasly having few opportunities to score points. Their qualifying battle was a closer result than you might have expected (only 13-9 to Gasly), but it was a season in which the Japanese driver seemed to have difficulty in finding 'the next step' after his rookie season in 2021. There were strong points hauls in Bahrain and Miami, but careless accidents at the Canadian GP (exiting the pit lane), British GP (collided with teammate) and Singapore GP (crashed into barrier) didn't help his cause. With Tsunoda being unable to hide behind an experienced teammate in 2023, he'll be under pressure to step up at AlphaTauri and assert 'number one' status over Nyck de Vries.
Mick Schumacher - Rating 6.0
In his second full season in F1 (or, his first 'proper' season in F1 after Haas' write-off year of 2021), Schumacher was immediately put under pressure by the returning Kevin Magnussen, who scored most of the team's points in the first four race weekends of the year. Crashes for the 23-year-old in Saudi Arabia and Monaco brought early pressure from Haas senior management. Schumacher's hattrick of point-scoring races (British GP, Austrian Sprint, Austrian GP) looked to ease the pressure, but otherwise the German was non-existent when the rare 'glory' moments came about for Haas. He was unlucky to retire from the Canadian GP after his season-best qualifying of P6 in the wet, but he was still pipped my Magnussen in that qualifying session and the Haas cars were on course to fall back down the order anyway. Schumacher also blamed strategy decisions for being unable to take points after an uncommon qualifying victory at Zandvoort (P8 vs P18). Of course, most notably, Schumacher qualified last on the day his teammate secured the Haas team's first Pole Position. Schumacher might be looking to reignite his F1 career via a reserve driver role in 2023, but time will tell if he can find his way back onto the grid.