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The most disappointing drivers of the 2022 F1 season so far

After having looked at the five most impressive drivers of the 2022 season so far, it's now time to turn our attentions to the other end of the spectrum and see which drivers have not pulled their weight over the first half of the year.

Daniel Ricciardo

Despite taking McLaren's first win for over eight years at the 2021 Italian Grand Prix, Ricciardo was largely overshadowed by Lando Norris over the course of the season, and that discrepancy has widened considerably in 2022. While Norris sits best of the rest behind the top six drivers on 76 points, Ricciardo has a paltry 19 to his name, and has rarely come close to matching Norris for pace. The Australian's struggles to make sense of the MCL36 are a far cry from his race-winning days at Red Bull, where he gained a reputation as one of the best late-brakers in the business. Indeed, so low has Ricciardo's stock plummeted that McLaren are rumoured to be seeking to buy him out of his 2023 contract in order to replace him with compatriot Oscar Piastri. Should he be turfed out of the Woking squad, Ricciardo's best bet of a 2023 seat appears to be with Alpine, for whom he drove in the team’s Renault guise in 2019 and 2020. But if Alpine elect to look elsewhere to replace the outgoing Fernando Alonso, a disastrous 2022 could spell the end of Ricciardo's once-promising F1 career.

Nicholas Latifi

Having been overshadowed by ex-teammate George Russell during his first two seasons in F1, Latifi now finds himself trailing in the wake of Alex Albon, who has impressed and often hustled the Williams FW44 above quicker cars. Not so for Latifi, who remains the only full-time F1 driver yet to score a point in 2022, and has done little in his two and a half seasons in the sport to suggest that he will amount to anything other than a journeyman. The Canadian's lack of performance may be offset by the millions he brings to Williams in exchange for his seat, but with the Grove squad on surer financial footing than they were when they first signed Latifi, the driver's bank balance may not be enough to keep him at the team beyond 2022.

Lance Stroll

In contrast to Ricciardo, Stroll has probably the most secure drive on the F1 grid, thanks to his billionaire father owning the Aston Martin team for whom he drives. It's just as well for Stroll that his father does own the team. Across five seasons in Formula 1, Lance has not shown himself to be a future champion in the making, and that trend is continuing in 2022. The Canadian has just four points so far to 16 for teammate Sebastian Vettel, who missed the first two races with Covid and has announced he will retire at the end of the year. Stroll is by no means out of his depth in F1, but there is a growing body of evidence to suggest that he is not one of the best two drivers Aston Martin have the ability to attract.

Yuki Tsunoda

While Tsunoda proved to be somewhat accident-prone during his rookie year in 2021, the Japanese showed enough of a turn of speed for Red Bull to keep him on at AlphaTauri for another year. But after a reasonable start to the campaign, 2022 has soured badly for Tsunoda, who has endured a rotten run of form in recent weeks. Across the last five Grands Prix, the Japanese has slid off track in Canada, collided with teammate Pierre Gasly in Britain, and suffered the indignity of being the last classified finisher in the other three races. Such performances will certainly not please Red Bull's notoriously trigger-happy management, but with the firm's junior drivers in F2 generally flattering to deceive, Tsunoda may yet cling on to his drive for 2023.

Pierre Gasly

While not having had as disastrous a half-season as teammate Tsunoda, Pierre Gasly has slipped back from an impressive 2021 where he scored regular points and finished ninth in the Drivers' Championship. An attrition-assisted fifth place at Baku aside, 2022 has been largely underwhelming for Gasly, who appears to be stuck in purgatory at AlphaTauri for the time being. With Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen locked in for at least the next two years, there are no immediate prospects of a promotion to Red Bull, and a potential move to Alpine has been scuppered by chiefs at the drinks-backed squad, who insist that Gasly has no exit clause for 2023. With Gasly having only ever known life within the Red Bull stable since he joined F1 in 2017, perhaps the Frenchman needs a fresh start to revitalise a stuttering career.

Mick Schumacher

Schumacher's presence on this list is largely due to his below-par start to 2022, during which he was comprehensively overshadowed by new teammate Kevin Magnussen, and twice involved himself in heavy and costly crashes that drew the ire of Haas team boss Guenther Steiner. After Canada, however, there was a notable upturn in Schumacher's performances, with the German scoring his first ever F1 points finish with eighth place at Silverstone, before following that up with a fine P6 in Austria, where he battled for several laps with Lewis Hamilton. With no contract yet in place at Haas or elsewhere for 2023, Schumacher will need to use the rest of this year to prove that his performances in Britain and Austria are the new normal, rather than a flash in the pan.

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