The final race of the 2022 Formula One season ended on a familiar note with Max Verstappen taking the honours. He picked up his 15th win of the season - a record - as Red Bull took its first constructors title since 2013.
Charles Leclerc stood 2nd in Abu Dhabi and sealed the same place in the drivers championship, beating Sergio Perez who was tied with the Monegasque driver at 290 points before the final race.
Sebastian Vettel retired from Formula One with a 10th place finish in Abu Dhabi. He ended the season with 37 points, six fewer than last season. Daniel Ricciardo, too, managed points in his final race with McLaren.
Here is a look at the highlights and talking points from the 2022 F1 season.
Verstappen sets record for most wins in a season
The Dutch driver broke the record held by Vettel and Michael Schumacher. The two Germans had won 13 races each, in 2004 and 2013, respectively. Verstappen went two better with 15 wins. Though he had more races in the season than the two Germans did in theirs, his feat now stands as the new benchmark. He also ended with the highest points tally in a season with 454 points.
Vettel retires from Formula 1
The four-time champion decided to call it quits after the 2022 season. Vettel ended his career with 53 wins, and 122 podiums. While his career ended away from the glory of the podium places at Aston Martin, Vettel enjoyed his peak at Red Bull where he won four consecutive titles between 2010 and 2013. He also finishes with the record of most consecutive wins in a season - 9 in 2013.
READ: Sebastian Vettel to retire from Formula 1 at end of 2022 season
Sainz wins first Formula 1 race
Carlos Sainz got his first career win, and in some style. He started from pole in his 150th race and went on to finish on the podium. He became only the second Spanaird to win a Formula One race, after Fernando Alonso. Sainz was asked by his team to let teammate Charles Leclerc past to avoid losing time to Lewis Hamilton at British Grand Prix. He obeyed team orders but the script did not follow Ferrari’s plans. Following a late crash in the race, Sainz switched tyres and went past Leclerc to grab the top place on the podium.
Ricciardo leaves McLaren
Daniel Ricciardo had a torrid time at McLaren. The Australian had a respectable tally of 115 points in 2021, but was outshone by teammate Lando Norris this season. Ricciardo ended this season in 11th place, with a tally of 37 points. Despite the underwhelming overall tenure, he would be remembered for his win at Monza in 2021, McLaren’s first since 2012. Ricciardo announced before Abu Dhabi that he will be the reserve driver for Red Bull in the 2023 season. Among other drivers who will not be featuring next season are Mick Schumacher and Nicolas Latifi.
McLaren-Alpine tussle for Piastri
The highly touted Oscar Piastri was set to join Alpine for the 2023 season, the team claimed. However, the driver denied any such agreement. McLaren announced a deal with the 2021 F2 champion, and named him as the replacement for the outgoing Ricciardo. The matter was taken to the governing body - FIA’s Driver Contract Recognition Board - which ruled in favour of McLaren.
Magnussen wins pole at Brazil
Nobody saw the highs and lows of a Formula One season like Kevin Magnussen did. The Dane got his season off to a flying start, scoring points in the opening two races. This was followed by a series of DNFs. When he did manage to find the chequered flag, he could not make the top 10. Then in Brazil, out of nowhere, Magnussen landed at pole position. He had a Russell crash to thank, but he held the fastest lap with eight minutes left in Q3. His race, however, mirrored the topsy turvy season as he crashed with Ricciardo and could not finish the race.
READ: Magnussen takes stunning first F1 pole for Haas in Brazil
Hamilton goes winless
The seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton struggled to get his Mercedes car in shape to win a race throughout the season. This is the first time in his career he has not won a single race. Hamilton’s season came to an end with a retirement at Abu Dhabi. He ended the season with 240 points, sixth in the drivers championship. Hamilton stood on the podium on nine occasions but had to see teammate George Russel pull off a win - Mercedes’ solitary win in 2022, in Brazil on the penultimate race of the season.
Russell wins first Formula 1 race
Jumping from Williams to the heavyweight Mercedes this season, George Russell packed a punch above his weight. He rubbed shoulders with Hamilton and held his own. The icing on the cake was the first place finish at the Brazilian Grand Prix. Russell led from the start at Sao Paulo’s Interlagos circuit and beat Hamilton for the top place. Russell’s season ended with a fifth place finish in Abu Dhabi. Overall. The British driver finished fourth in the drivers championship with 275 points.
Verstappen refuses to let Perez pass
With the Brazil Grand Prix nearing an end, Verstappen took the lead over teammate Sergio Perez following a safety car. The team ordered the Dutch driver, who had already secured the title by then, to allow Perez to pass. The Mexican still had the second place to fight for. Verstappen refused. Perez ultimately ended in seventh place, one behind Verstappen, which meant that he went level on points with Leclerc ahead the last race of the season. In Ab Dhabi, Leclerc bettered Perez’s finish to take second place, meaning the two points in Brazil would still have landed Perez short.
READ: Red Bull’s Sergio Perez sees golden age of Mexican racers
Perez’s wait for pole ends
Having competed for over 12 years, it is hard to fathom that Sergio Perez got his first career pole this season. In his 215th attempt, the Mexican was able to better the timings of teammate Max Verstappen, and Ferrari rivals to finish in premier position at the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix. He eventually slipped up in the race and ended in fourth place.