F1: Karun Chandhok ranks top five drivers for 2022 until Lewis Hamilton joins young crop

Sky Sports F1 pundit Karun Chandhok shares his rankings and insights on the top five drivers so far this season; There are nine races left in 2022, starting with This weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix, live on Sky Sports F1 on Sunday at 2pm

Last updated: 23/08/22 5:59 am


From the youngster who proved 2021 wasn’t a one-off to the man who doesn’t seem to have any ‘weak spots’ in the car, F1 on Sky Sports Karun Chandhok gives his verdict on the top five drivers so far this season.

Check out Caroun’s list and his explanations below ahead of the return of sport this weekend, with the Belgian Grand Prix live on Sky Sports F1.

Practice starts on Friday and the competition on Sunday is at 14:00.

5. Lando Norris, McLaren

The Best of the Rest continued to build on its breakthrough in 2021.

Despite the complete rule change, Landau has emerged as the outright team leader at McLaren, with an 11-2 qualifying record and an average gap of 0.338 seconds over Daniel Ricciardo.

He has exactly four times as many points as his teammate, all of which is likely to have fueled this contentious battle to sign Oscar Piastri as a 2023 replacement.

The orange cars started the season on the back foot, with all sorts of brake issues, but after getting over that hump from the first two rounds, Landau finished in the top six four times.

With Mercedes’ pace improving, he is more often than not the leading contender to be seventh and ahead of the Alpines in their battle for midfield honours. A strong start that proved last season wasn’t a one-off.

4. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes

It’s been a strangely quiet start to the season for Lewis. He was obviously not at all happy with the car in the first few races and suffered more than George Russell, but once we got to Barcelona and the team started to unlock some speed, Lewis picked things up as well.

The qualifying score may be tied, but Lewis has beaten George in the last five races in a row.

Ahead of this weekend's Belgian Grand Prix, we look back at some of the most memorable moments from previous races at Spa.

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Ahead of this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix, we look back at some of the most memorable moments from previous races at Spa.

Ahead of this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix, we look back at some of the most memorable moments from previous races at Spa.

As I have said in previous columns, I feel that Lewis Hamilton after 2018 is different to that of years ago, when he was fully aware that the points and rewards come in the races and so it is crucial that the car appears in the window he loves -the long stinks, even if it compromises his outright qualifying speed.

He may be 12 points behind George in the points table right now, but those awful weekends in Saudi Arabia and Imola seem a long time ago. This team battle will be fun to watch!

3. George Russell, Mercedes

The young Brit has had a stellar start to his time at Mercedes, matching Lewis 6-6 so far with an average of just 0.069 between them in qualifying.

As the new guy on a team facing the statistically greatest qualifier of all time, that’s pretty damn impressive. The pole position lap in Budapest was probably the best we’ve seen of the season so far.

George’s approach to calmly dealing with the problems of the temperamental W13, while daring to gamble on settings, won praise from the team.

There is absolutely no doubt that if Mercedes have a car that is ready to start challenging for wins on a regular basis, then Russell is ready to deliver them. But his biggest challenge is still the man on the other side of the box.

2. Charles Leclerc, Ferrari

If you consider the 32 points Leclerc lost due to driver error (Imola and France), the strategic errors (Monaco, Silverstone and Budapest) which probably cost another 36 points, plus the reliability errors (Baku and Spain) which cost 40 points then the Ferrari man would be 28 points ahead of Max instead of 80 behind him.

But unfortunately for him and the team, the World Cup isn’t hypothetically decided, so they have a mountain to climb as they hope for some bad luck for the opposition to get back into the race.

As Formula 1 prepares to return from its summer break, we take a look back at how Max Verstappen built an 80-point lead over title rival Charles Leclerc.

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As Formula 1 prepares to return from its summer break, we take a look back at how Max Verstappen built an 80-point lead over title rival Charles Leclerc.

As Formula 1 prepares to return from its summer break, we take a look back at how Max Verstappen built an 80-point lead over title rival Charles Leclerc.

Leclerc again showed blistering speed in qualifying, leading team-mate Carlos Sainz 8-2 so far in the sessions with no penalties or problems. His Saturday performances in Spain and in particular in Monaco were simply sensational.

On too many occasions Red Bull looked the faster car on Sunday, but at races like Austria the tables were turned and Leclerc delivered a masterclass in race management to claim victory. He needs more than those fleeing to Abu Dhabi.

1. Max Verstappen, Red Bull

The Dutchman entered this season with Hamilton’s huge legion of fans calling him an unworthy world champion, but he has kept his head down, avoided distractions and built a campaign around supreme consistency and speed.

Eight wins from the first 13 races was brilliant in itself, but the way Max achieved some of those wins by calmly choosing his moments to overtake and take advantage of opportunities is a clear indication of a driver who has added an attempt to fight for the title to the already huge amount of God-given talent.

There seems to be no weakness now, which is ominous for the opposition not only this year but in the future.

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