Max Verstappen underlined his dominance by taking his 15th victory of 2022 in the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – but who else impressed the judges? The final top 10 of the season is in from the United Arab Emirates.
How it works
Our five-judge panel assesses each driver after every Grand Prix and scores them out of 10 according to their performance across the weekend – taking machinery out of the equation
Our experts’ scores are then averaged out and the mean of those scores are used to produce a Power Rankings leaderboard, which has been expanded below
READ MORE: 6 Winners and 5 Losers from Abu Dhabi – Who signed off their season in style?
Top spot for the reigning champion after the season finale. Max Verstappen led all but one lap on his way to a record-extending 15th win of the season at Yas Marina Circuit on Sunday. The Dutchman was peerless in qualifying too, as he took pole by two-tenths over team mate Sergio Perez – who was given a tow by Verstappen to ensure a Red Bull front row lock-out.
READ MORE: ‘This year has surpassed anything we could have believed’ says Horner after 17th win of the season in Abu Dhabi
Charles Leclerc couldn’t match rival Perez in qualifying but came mighty close – just 0.040s away. The Monegasque knew what his mission was on Sunday and he accomplished it with perfect execution. Leclerc pulled off a one-stop strategy and kept ahead of two-stopper Perez until the finish line to seal second in the championship.
READ MORE: ‘I was at 110% from start to finish’ – Leclerc hails ‘perfect race’ as he beats Perez to P2 in the championship
Lando Norris put in another impressive performance on Saturday with P7 on the grid for McLaren, who were perhaps seeking a consolation after a double DNF in Brazil put them out of realistic striking distance against Alpine. Norris seemed to be running unchallenged for seventh on Sunday until Lewis Hamilton retired, giving the McLaren driver an impressive P6 finish.
READ MORE: Abu Dhabi the ‘perfect weekend to end the season on’ says Norris after taking P6
Sebastian Vettel seemed determined to put on a show in his final F1 race. The Aston Martin driver went sixth in Q1 and made it to ninth on the grid on Saturday. The start of the race saw the out-going four-time champion provide the action as he battled his way as high as fourth, but his choice to opt for a one-stop strategy saw Vettel fall all the way down the order and recover to take the final point on offer.
READ MORE: Why strategy wasn’t kind to Vettel in his swansong race
Esteban Ocon qualified a solid eighth behind midfield rival Norris and the Alpine driver pretty much stayed right there for most of the race, his pace sufficient to prevent Vettel and team mate Fernando Alonso from catching up – but insufficient to catch Norris ahead. What was destined to be a P8 finish turned into P7 when Hamilton retired.
SAY WHAT?! Emotion for Vettel and celebrations for Verstappen feature in the best team radio from Abu Dhabi
George Russell wasn’t going to repeat his Sao Paulo winning feat in Abu Dhabi as Mercedes just weren’t quick enough at Yas Marina. However, Russell did qualify just 0.003s behind team mate Hamilton as Mercedes sat on the third row, and the Brazilian winner kept his nose clean to finish fifth.
READ MORE: Russell calls P5 at Abu Dhabi GP a ‘reality check’ for Mercedes after ‘character-building’ season
Daniel Ricciardo’s last race for McLaren was hampered by lights out as the Australian had a three-place grid penalty hanging over him from a collision with Kevin Magnussen in Brazil – meaning P10 in qualifying became P13 on the grid. The McLaren driver made it as high as eighth and then pulled off a one-stopper to eclipse Vettel for P9 in a solid showing on Sunday.
READ MORE: Red Bull ‘highly likely the place for me’ in 2023 says Ricciardo, after signing off McLaren career with points in Abu Dhabi
Perez qualified well enough, his goal is to beat Leclerc on Saturday, with some help from Verstappen. The Mexican driver also started well on Sunday, almost making it past a stubborn Verstappen through Turn 1 and staying ahead of Leclerc – but Perez’s undoing was the two-stop strategy that saw him fall to third by the checkered flag.
READ MORE: Red Bull to celebrate most successful season ever with December showrun in Milton Keynes
Lance Stroll’s qualifying performance of P14 was less than ideal but the Canadian put in a solid Sunday performance, pitting early, then making it up to ninth in his second stint before pitting again and taking eighth at the flag for Aston Martin – ahead of both Ricciardo and Vettel.
READ MORE: ‘We gave it everything’ – Stroll takes positives from Aston Martin’s season despite narrowly losing out on P6 to Alfa Romeo
Alonso’s final race for Alpine saw him start 10th and make it up to sixth before pitting, after which he made up places and returned to the points – only for his race to end in the pits with another reliability hitch. Once again, we were prevented from seeing where Alonso could have ended up on Sunday.
READ MORE: ‘I feel honored’ – Alonso overjoyed with first drive for ‘iconic brand’ Aston Martin at Abu Dhabi test
Carlos Sainz was joint 10th in this week’s Power Rankings after starting fourth and finishing there for Ferrari.
Lewis Hamilton missed out on the top 10, the seven-time champion having qualified fifth before sparring with Sainz at the start – an off-track excursion costing Hamilton the place. He returned P4 to Sainz, took it back, but ended up retiring with a hydraulic issue on Sunday as the Spaniard was bearing down on him.