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F1 2022: The five most underrated drivers include Lewis Hamilton and Lando Norris | F1

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Guanyu Zhou

F1’s sole rookie of the 2022 field has had a far more impressive campaign than his results suggest. Zhou scored points on his F1 debut in Bahrain with a brilliant drive to 10th but had to wait until another eight races to score his next points with P8 in Canada. 

F1’s first-ever Chinese driver would have more points if he had not been hampered by Alfa Romeo’s unreliability and mechanical problems. Zhou’s rookie season also took a hit when he suffered a terrifying barrel-roll crash at Silverstone. His performances warrant more than five points and 17th in the championship. 

Esteban Ocon

Being Fernando Alonso’s teammate has proven to be a poisoned chalice for some drivers (just ask Stoffel Vandoorne), but Esteban Ocon has been unfazed by the two-time world champion’s presence at Alpine. The Frenchman performed admirably against Alonso during their first season together in 2021 and has maintained his strong form into 2022. 

Granted, Alonso has suffered his fair share of bad luck and reliability issues, but Ocon’s consistency – he has only finished outside of the points in two of the 12 races he has completed – has been key to him occupying eighth place in the championship, as well as helping Alpine sit four points clear of midfield rivals McLaren in the constructors’. 

Lando Norris 

Another driver who deserves massive credit this season is Lando Norris. The 22-year-old has once again spearheaded McLaren’s charge in 2022 and convincingly outperformed his more experienced teammate Daniel Ricciardo in the process. 

Norris’ outstanding performances have been reflected in his results, with the Briton scoring 76 of McLaren’s 95 points this year and taking the team’s best result of the season by finishing third on the podium at Imola. His form has already been rewarded with a new long-term contract that sees him locked in at McLaren until the end of 2025. 

Lewis Hamilton 

Amid Mercedes’ well-documented struggles and a hugely difficult start to the season, there is now light at the end of the tunnel for the team and Lewis Hamilton. 

By his own admission, the seven-time world champion made a slow start to 2022, with Hamilton suffering a string of defeats to new teammate George Russell while he conducted the majority of Mercedes’ experiments to help the team understand their troublesome car. 

Since the experimenting has stopped, Hamilton has been in sublime form, securing five successive podium finishes, including a pair of second places. That first win for Mercedes this season feels ever closer based on Hamilton’s recent displays. 

Others who have impressed… 

Honourable mentions also have to go to Valtteri Bottas, who has starred at Alfa Romeo, the returning Kevin Magnussen, Russell and Sergio Perez, who has been much closer to Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen and appeared in genuine title contention until retirements in Canada (reliability) and Austria (collision) severely dented his hopes.

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