Our Top 50 drivers of the year… (10th to 6th)

10 – Fernando Alonso (Spain)
9th in the 2022 Formula 1 World Championship with Alpine

It makes you wonder if the Asturian Bull is really over forty. Despite his 41 spring, the double world champion continues to surprise with his level of competitiveness. His 2022 campaign speaks for itself. If he finished in 9th place in the Drivers’ classification, behind his teammate (a rarity), his mechanics prevented him from aiming higher. Too often betrayed by his mount, with five retirements and a non-start for various technical problems, Fernando Alonso let a good fifty points slip away. No matter, he has something to be proud of his year: 14 races out of 22 in the points, a series of 10 consecutive Grands Prix in the Top 10 and a few brilliant moments like in Australia where he seemed to be fighting for the pole before experiencing a hydraulic failure, one more… And how can we forget his XXL performance in Austin (USA) where he moved up to 7th place after taking off in the Aston Martin of his future team-mate Lance Stroll? So of course, the Iberian remains a shadowy personality, a black sun that can prove harmful for his own camp. Perfect illustration in Brazil where, after having clashed with his teammate Esteban Ocon, then having crucified him in the media, he signed a new number to finish 5th. The years pass, but do not seem to have any hold on the eternal Alonso.

© Antonin Vincent / DPPI

9 – Will Power (Australia)
IndyCar Champion with Penske (1 win)

We knew the berserk Will Power, here is the wise Will Power as an image. Author of a single success in 2022, the 41-year-old driver has counterbalanced his caution in the race with an intelligence above his colleagues on the track. Its regularity is its centerpiece in the construction of a second coronation in the North American series (after 2014). Even when the situation seemed hopeless, like at the Indianapolis 500 (May 29) where he was dropped during the first 50 laps, he managed to hang on to score the points for 15th position, which came in handy at the end the country. When he had the opportunity to convert the test, as in Detroit (June 5), he did not flinch. Rejected in 17th and last place after a spin at Mid-Ohio (July 3), he remained focused to climb to 3rd position thanks to an offensive three-stop strategy. The representative of “Captain” Roger Penske also took advantage of this year to overtake IndyCar legend, Mario Andretti, in the number of pole positions (62). A complete runner, Will Power no longer fears many people.

© IndyCar

8 – Marcus Ericsson (Sweden)
Winner of the 2022 Indianapolis 500 with Chip Ganassi Racing, 6th in IndyCar (1 victory)

No matter what happens next, the sky can fall on your head, one thing will never change: winning the Indy 500 sets you apart in motorsport history. The case of Marcus Ericsson is telling. Taxed as a paying driver during his time in F1 between 2014 and 2018, the Swede changed dimension by moving to the United States within the prestigious Chip Ganassi Racing team. But from there to affixing his name to the prize list of one of the three monuments of the calendar, with the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Grand Prix of Monaco? There is a world that few observers dared to imagine. Still in the lead group, Ericsson took advantage of Scott Dixon’s speeding in the pits at the end of the effort to move ahead and hold on, despite a red flag and an extremely intense restart of only two laps. Small flat, his conservative attitude on the following 11 races served him when aiming for the IndyCar title.

© IndyCar

7 – Sebastien Loeb (France)
Winner of the 2022 Monte-Carlo Rally with M-Sport, Extreme E champion with X44 Vida Carbon Racing

Immortals. Incredible. Each year, qualifiers are lacking to designate the performance of Sébastien Loeb. In 2022, the Alsatian got off to a strong start: for the first round of the hybrid era in the WRC, who better than the nine-time world rally champion to win? On the Monte-Carlo Rally (January 20-23), the legend of the discipline scored a sensational 80th victory. At the end of an epic fight between the two biggest champions of the category. Loeb vs Ogier: a look back ten years, when the two compatriots fought a fierce battle at Citroën. This time, the duel turned to the advantage of the M-Sport driver, who became the oldest winner in the WRC. At 48, Loeb is more active than ever: 2nd in the Dakar, winner of the Race of Champions and the Extreme E championship, the native of Haguenau (Alsace) even offered himself a freelance in the DTM, in Portimão (Portugal), to taste the joys of the circuit. And even if he did not manage to obtain another podium this year in rallying – victim in particular of two retirements in Greece and Portugal when he was leader – Loeb gave a real lesson to the WRC field. Immortal, we tell you!

© Grégory Lenormand / DPPI

6 – Scott McLaughlin (New Zealand)
4th in IndyCar 2022 with Penske (3 wins)

The Kiwi’s ability to adapt is amazing. Just two years ago, Scott McLaughlin was the expert on Australian Supercars and old-school GTs that were heavy, powerful and devoid of aero. He is now one of the most skilled athletes in IndyCar. This season, in addition to having to hold a candle to expert single-seater teammates, the 29-year-old driver has taken on the responsibility of leading the debate in the general classification, thanks to his victory at the start of the season in St Petersburg. (Florida, February 27). On the one hand, the way in which Scott McLaughlin won his three successes demonstrates an increasingly refined raw talent. 49 laps out of 100 led at St Pete, 45 out of 80 at Mid-Ohio, and finally 104 out of 110 at Portland (September 4): the man from the Antipodes wins with style, without any form of challenge. The talent of the resident Penske on the ovals is well established. At Texas, one of the fastest tracks on the calendar, he led 186 of 248 laps. His quest for the title, however, took a hit from the Indianapolis 500 Miles at the end of May. Author of a convincing comeback at the start of the effort, a careless mistake sent him into the wall. This race awarding double points compared to the usual scale, “Scotty” lost big. But he will be one of the favorites in the future.

© IndyCar

Check out the rest of AUTOHebdo’s Top 50:

Our Top 50 drivers of the year… (20th to 11th)
Our Top 50 drivers of the year… (30th to 21st)
Our Top 50 drivers of the year… (40th to 31st)
Our Top 50 drivers of the year… (50th to 41st)

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