Formula 1 | F1 review – Mid-season 2022: Red Bull
After winning the drivers title on the wire with Max Verstappen in 2021, Red Bull intended to get off to a good start with the new aero regulations so that they did not have to catch up again. But this time, the adversary is not called Mercedes F1 but Ferrari. And if the reliability could have worried at the beginning of the year, it is an understatement to affirm that the Austrian team currently dominates Formula 1.
The double retirement of Bahrain and that of Max Verstappen in Melbourne raised fears of the worst in terms of reliability, but the few problems were quickly corrected. Conversely, Ferrari got off to an excellent start before collapsing, between technical problems, bad strategies and driving mistakes. Quite the opposite of Red Bull, which demonstrates every weekend that it is by far the best team on the set operationally. And if the RB18 is not superior to the F1-75 in terms of pace, the fact that the Austrian team is 80 points ahead in the drivers and 97 in the constructors speaks volumes about the grip they have. have been in the 2022 championship for a few races.
Red Bull having won 9 of the 13 races contested so far, it is hard to see how the two world titles could now escape them. Be careful all the same that reliability does not disturb it at the end of the season, but the rule will be the same for everyone and the team has shown that it knows how to solve its problems. And if Ferrari continued to have problems, it could even see its two drivers finish in the first two places in the championship at the end of the season, which would be a first in its history.
Statistical report: from 291 points (post-Hungary 2021) // to 357 points (post-Hungary 2022). That is + 23% (in proportion to the races contested before the summer break).
Technical report: The evolution of the Red Bull RB18 in 2022
Haloed by his first title in Formula 1, certainly controversial, Max Verstappen seems to have passed a new milestone this year and displays a formidable confidence. If his fight with Lewis Hamilton had been marked by questionable gestures on the track or certain errors, he is impeccable this year and his alliance with Red Bull seems stronger than ever. And yet, the season had not started ideally for him.
It was obvious that the RB18 would fight for victories from the start. However, if the Dutchman won in the second race in Jeddah, he had to retire in Bahrain and then again in Australia, while Charles Leclerc collected the points.
But between Imola and Hungary, Verstappen won 8 of the 10 races contested while Ferrari and the Monegasque sank in the standings. And when things go wrong in qualifying, like in Budapest where he started 10th on the grid, he and his team always manage to plan the best possible strategy to reverse a badly embarked situation.
His substantial lead of 80 points in the championship already seems to guarantee him a second title at the end of the season, as it is hard to imagine him suffering a setback. And even if his teammate Sergio Perez seemed more comfortable than him on board the RB18 at one point, the changes made by his team have obviously allowed him to regain the measure of the Mexican, now slightly behind. You said alone in the world?
1st with 258 points
— 8 wins
— 3 pole positions
— 10 podiums
— 3 fastest laps
— 1 hat-trick
— 1 Grand Slam
Arriving at Red Bull last year, Sergio Perez has had a much better start to the campaign this time around. Much closer to Verstappen in qualifying, he even seemed more at ease than the Dutchman during certain races at the wheel of the RB18, sometimes ahead of him. However, the more his single-seater evolved, the more the gap started to grow again.
If we had to remember a highlight of Perez’s season, it’s all found: his victory at the Monaco Grand Prix. It is his only success of the year so far, as Verstappen has eight, but a triumph in the Principality changes a driver’s career and Perez, who was then 15 points behind his teammate in the championship, became a de facto contender for the title. And since happiness never comes alone, Red Bull confirmed the same weekend that the Mexican was extended until the end of 2024.
However, since then, it has been difficult to find any trace of a major performance by Perez. He certainly finished second at Baku and then at Silverstone, but these results mean little when your teammate wins almost every weekend. It is said that the developments made on the RB18 would have helped Verstappen more than the Guadalajara native, but the gap between the two men still seems to have become as wide as at certain points in the 2021 season.
He will have to improve his level of play during the remaining races, especially since he can still run for second place in the championship, he who is only 5 points behind Charles Leclerc.
3rd with 173 points
— 1 victory
— 1 pole position
— 6 podiums
— 2 fastest laps
— 0 hat-tricks
— 0 Grand Slam
Race: 11/2 in favor of Verstappen (when both have finished, unless driving fault)
Qualifying: 10/3 in favor of Verstappen