2022 has been an action-packed year for Formula 1. At the 2022 Bahrain GP, this topsy-turvy season began with an exciting race that (spoiler alert!) features on this post. The championship battle began between Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen, with the former having the upper hand. However, over the course of the season, that changed. Ferrari and Leclerc ran into issues and struggles, as Max Verstappen and Red Bull started to forge ahead. And throughout the season, we saw battles that had us on the edges of our seats. We saw crashes (and near crashes!) that left us shocked. As we begin the New Year, before we know it, we’ll be beginning the new season! So let’s take a look back at the Top 10 Moments of F1 in 2022!
10= 2022 Monaco GP – Zhou Drifts On The Streets of Monaco
This save by Guanyu Zhou was quite insane. On Lap 50 of the 2022 Monaco GP, Zhou was trying to overtake Yuki Tsunoda down into the Nouvelle chicane. But when he moved to the right to make the move and started braking, Zhou lost the rear end of the car. He nearly crashed into the barriers at a VERY high speed. However, he sort of drifted the car and caught the spin just in time and avoided a massive crash. It was a fabulous save that showed his skill as an F1 driver. The move was followed by a radio message of Zhou saying “I might need new pants.” After a scare like that, who wouldn’t!
10= 2022 Monaco GP – Mick Schumacher’s Car Splits In Half
On Lap 24 of the 2022 Monaco GP, Mick Schumacher had a major crash that saw his car split in half. This was a massive crash that resulted in a Red Flag. The Red Flag meant that the 78-lap race couldn’t be completed within the 2-hour window.
Mick Schumacher lost control of the rear end of his car when exiting the fast chicane of Turns 13 and 14. His front wing clipped the metal Armco barrier, and the wing came clean off. His car then slid into the Tecpro barrier at fairly high speed. The impact was strong enough to split the car. Not only did the crash scatter loose debris across the track, but it also damaged the Tecpro barriers.
The teams designed the 2022 F1 cars to split upon heavy impact to avoid a fuel leak like the one that caused Romain Grosjean’s fiery crash at the 2020 Bahrain GP. The FIA made it mandatory for the cars to be able to split upon a heavy impact. The fact that Mick Schumacher’s car split in half shows that there was a major impact.
9: 2022 Brazilian GP – Tensions Flare Between Vertsappen and Perez
This dramatic event stands at Number 9 of the Top 10 Moments of F1 in 2022. Sergio Perez is known for being a good teammate to Max Verstappen. He’s sacrificed his own performances multiple times to help Max or to let Max through to win the race. At the 2022 Brazilian GP, Red Bull asked Verstappen to let Perez through so that he could score crucial points in his bid for 2nd place in the Drivers’ Championship. However, Verstappen ignored the team orders, and stayed ahead of Perez. At the 2022 Spanish GP, Red Bull snatched the win out of his hands by making him get out of the way for Verstappen. And now when Verstappen is asked to do the same, he refuses!
Without Sergio Perez and his selfless driving, especially in 2021, Max Verstappen wouldn’t be a World Champion. I know that there are rumors that Perez purposely spun during qualifying at the 2022 Monaco GP just to secure pole. But it is still a fact that Perez has made sacrifices to his own results for Max Verstappen. Multiple times. Perez was clearly upset by Max’s behavior, saying it showed “who he really is”. Max told the team not to ask that of him again, saying he gave his reasons last summer and stands by them. Internal discussions surely took place after that – I wouldn’t be surprised if they were heated! Instructing the team like that and betraying his teammate is a move that definitely reduced how much respect I have for Verstappen.
8: 2022 Japanese GP – Max Wins Championship As Leclerc Slips Off The Track
The moment Leclerc slipped off the track, and the drama and confusion that followed formed the unique circumstances under which Max Verstappen was crowned a 2-time World Champion. The final laps of the 2022 Japanese GP saw intense battling between Sergio Perez and Charles Leclerc, as Perez fought for 2nd place. For the last two sectors of the lap, the rivals were pushing flat out as Perez tried to squeeze past Leclerc. But coming into the chicane before the final corner, Leclerc locked up and slid off the track. He came back on the track ahead of Perez, who tried to squeeze past again, but had no choice but to settle for 3rd.
But even after the checkered flag fell at the 2022 Japanese GP, the drama didn’t end. Max Verstappen won his 2nd World Championship, and he didn’t even know it! He won the championship under unique circumstances; even Verstappen himself was confused! Originally, Verstappen didn’t win the World Championship. However, soon after the race finished, the FIA penalized Leclerc with a 5-second penalty for leaving the track and gaining an advantage. That promoted Sergio Perez to P2, and left Leclerc in P3. That meant that Verstappen had gained enough points on Leclerc for it to be mathematically impossible for Leclerc to beat Verstappen in the remaining races.
7= 2022 Belgium GP – Hamilton Plays IRL Rocket League
At the 2022 Belgian GP, we saw 2 incidents at the Les Combes Chicane. One of those was this tangle on Lap 1 between Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso. This crash has produced memes all over social media not just because of the crash itself, but what happened after the crash. Let’s look at how the crash happened. After a fantastic qualifying, combined with grid penalties for Verstappen and Leclerc, Alonso started the race in P3. Hamilton started behind him in P4, and when the 5 lights were out, both of them capitalized on Perez’s bad start to gain a position. Alonso found himself in P2, with a Mercedes right on his tail.
Since Sainz got a good start, Alonso didn’t have a very good slipstream. However, Hamilton got a great slipstream for Alonso. The 7-Time World Champion pulled alongside Alonso into the Les Combes Chicane. He went around the outside and was actually around a quarter of a car length ahead into the chicane. Alonso made up a little bit of ground heading towards the corner’s apex. And when the cars reached the apex, Hamilton’s rear right tire mounted Alonso’s front left, sending the Mercedes into the air. The rear end of Hamilton’s car was thrust into the air by the contact.
Alonso’s car went off track as Hamilton’s car did, and they both continued racing. Hamilton took front wing damage, and everything seemed fine. However, unfortunately, Hamilton experienced a loss of water pressure in the incident and had to stop the car and retire from the race. When Hamilton’s car went off the ground, and then subsequently landed, Hamilton had to sustain a 45G vertical impact. That is actually insane, and I really didn’t expect the contact to have been that major. After the incident, Alonso went on the team radio and delivered a message; he seemed to have been holding in the chamber for a while. It was funny for the fans but quite dark at the same time, which is why it sits in the Top 10 Moments of F1 in 2022
7= 2022 Bahrain GP – Charles Leclerc Challenges The Champion
This scintillating battle was the perfect way to kick off this season, which is why it’s one of the Top 10 Moments of F1 in 2022. At the season opener, Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc battled for the lead of the 2022 Bahrain GP. I was lucky to be watching the battle from the Turn 1 Grandstand! Turn 1 is where the battling took place as the drivers engaged in battle.
For 3 laps in a row (Laps 17, 18 and 19), Verstappen tried to overtake Leclerc for the lead of the race. He dived into Turn 1 using DRS and fresh tires to try and get Leclerc. On Laps 17 and 18, Verstappen would see that Leclerc was slow on the straight, and just dive down the inside. However, Leclerc played it much smarter than Verstappen did. He braked early, maintained control of his car through the first 3 corners, and then got a strong exit out of Turn 3.
With the help of DRS, he would re-overtake Verstappen into Turn 1. On Lap 19, Verstappen was further behind Leclerc. However, that didn’t stop him from making an outrageous dive from miles behind into Turn 1. For a while, it looked like he made it stick. However, he locked up on the front-right in dramatic fashion. Leclerc once again managed his braking, and then switchbacked Verstappen to maintain the lead. After that Verstappen couldn’t challenge Leclerc again. He also ran into some troubles later on…
6= 2022 Azerbaijan GP – Ferrari Double-DNF
Ferrari had an absolute disasterclass in Azerbaijan. They didn’t just suffer a double-DNF for their team. In total, 4 of the 6 cars running Ferrari engines retired in Azerbaijan. It’s a crushing defeat for Ferrari as a team and as a Power Unit supplier. Ferrari believes that Sainz and Leclerc’s issues were completely separate. But there is one thing that is clear – ever since Ferrari tuned their engine to its maximum strength, their reliability has taken a big hit.
Ferrari made this change at the Miami GP by increasing the horsepower of the engine by 5 HP. The race after that was the Spanish GP, where Leclerc suffered a DNF because of an engine failure. And then 2 races after that, both Ferrari cars failed to finish. So we can see that the change negatively affected their reliability. To rub salt in the wound, Red Bull secured a 1-2 finish, which was a massive increase in Red Bull’s championship lead.
6= 2022 French GP – Leclerc Crashes Out Of The Lead
In the early laps of the 2022 French GP, Charles Leclerc was leading the race. However, on Lap 18, on worn tires, he suffered a snap of oversteer while going through Le Beausset that sent him spinning and into the barriers. While Leclerc had suffered two DNFs prior to this one, those were mechanical failures. This was the first time this season Leclerc that Leclerc had to retire from the race due to his own mistakes, and it was clearly a huge mental blow for him.
You could hear the pain in his voice when he screamed on the radio immediately after crashing. And then, in an interview he gave after retiring from the race Leclerc said that if he kept ‘making mistakes like this’ he deserves ‘not to win the championship’. When asked about how he’s going to prepare for the next race (which is the Hungarian GP), Leclerc said “I’m going to close myself at home and only go out when I have [ to catch ] the plane to go to Budapest.” That’s how heartbroken he was.
5= 2022 Austrian GP – 5-way Fight In The Midfield
At the 2022 Austrian GP, I witnessed a battle that perfectly displays how complicated and competitive the midfield has been this year. This battle is tied for #5 of the Top 10 Moments of F1 in 2022. This was a 5-way battle the last couple of points-paying positions. That means P8-P10 since the Top 10 are the points-paying positions. This battle was a work of art. It was hard evidence of how racing has improved in 2022. The battle started with Alonso and Zhou, but since these cars were close together on track, and since the performance difference wasn’t too large, more cars joined the fight.
The 5-way fight started with Fernando Alonso trying to overtake Zhou Guanyu at the end of Lap 23. Alonso tried to get Zhou into the final corner but was forced to back off, which invited Magnussen to the fight. By Turn 1, Zhou, Alonso and Magnussen were 3-wide into Turn 1. Magnussen used the inside line to gain 2 positions in one corner. Down the straight into Turn 3, Zhou was slow – he must’ve had a bad exit out of Turn 1. Alonso pulled alongside and tried to overtake Zhou into Turn 3. But suddenly, because of the fighting in Turn 1, Norris and Schumacher joined the fight. Five drivers slammed the brakes and entered Turn 3 together.
Norris overtook Zhou and Alonso into Turn 3, and was about to overtake Magnussen. However, he had the outside line out of Turn 3 and ran out of road. Norris tried again at Turn 4, but he couldn’t make the move while wrestling the seemingly unstable McLaren. In this fantastic battle, it was Zhou Guanyu who lost out and fell 4 positions as he struggled for pace. This is something we’ve never seen during the previous era of F1. But with the new regulations, it has been made possible for groups of cars like this to battle. With performance gaps between teams being minimised, the midfield became incredibly tight, giving us a scintillating midfield championship battle this year.
5= 2022 Bahrain GP – Double Retirement For Red Bull
Red Bull’s hopes dilapidated faster than their engines did! For the first time since the 2018 Azerbaijan GP, Red Bull Racing had a double-DNF. Interestingly, the last time Red Bull had a double-DNF because of mechanical issues for both drivers was at the 2018 Bahrain GP! But this double-DNF came in a completely different fashion. It was far more dramatic because rather than happening in the early stages of the race, the drama came at the very end! The fact that these DNF’s took place so late in the race place them in #5 of the Top 10 Moments of F1 in 2022.
In the race, on Lap 55, with 3 laps to go, Verstappen had to retire the car, since his engine lost power. It was a shocking problem that put an end to a disappointing race for Verstappen. As we’ve seen earlier in this post, Charles Leclerc had continuously thwarted Verstappen throughout the race. But instead of securing a 2nd place finish, Verstappen was forced to retire from the race.
Then, on the final lap, it got even worse for Red Bull. Verstappen’s retirement promoted Sergio Perez to 3rd place. It would still be 15 points for the Red Bull team. But on the penultimate lap of the race, Perez reported that he was losing power. In the grandstands, everyone got on their feet as soon as they heard the radio message being played on the speakers. Could this day get even worse for Red Bull?? The answer, unfortunately, was yes.
In an F1 car, when the engine suddenly loses power and shuts off the rear axle locks. That means the rear wheels lock up completely, which spins the car around. That’s exactly what happened to Perez. On the final lap of the race, he was coming into Turn 1. He was lightly defending from Hamilton. However, when he was going through Turn 1, his car just shut off mid-corner, which spun his car around. Ferrari secured a 1-2, and Hamilton finished on the podium, while Red Bull walked away with 0 points.
4= 2022 United States GP – Alonso Pops A Wheelie
Lance Stroll and Fernando Alonso, the two drivers set to drive for Aston Martin next year, had a major collision in the 2022 US GP. This crash was far bigger than any normal crash. On Lap 22 of 56, Alonso was attempting to overtake Stroll for P7 down the back straight into Turn 12. Alonso, who had DRS was closing up to Stroll very fast, with both drivers hitting speeds of at least 285 km/h. That’s INCREDIBLY high.
When Alonso was closing up to Stroll, he moved to the left to make the overtake on the Aston. However, at the very last moment, Stroll moved to the left as well to block Alonso off. Because of how extremely late Stroll’s move was, Alonso’s front-right tire hit and mounted Stroll’s rear-left, sending Alonso up into the air, and then into a wall. The incident was truly shocking. On the radio Alonso said, in an audibly shaken voice, “very late move.” I completely agree, and it’s safe to say that the majority of people who saw the incident did too.
It was a dangerous move from Stroll, and it really didn’t end well. Stroll got a puncture and retired, but despite the incident, Alonso could keep going. Quite miraculous that was. Thankfully, both drivers were ok after the incident. The crash did provide us with the priceless image of Fernando Alonso popping a wheelie in an F1 car. This crash will be immortalized in the memes about Alonso’s wheelie, which is something that is never seen in F1. Who said that F1 cars can’t do wheelies? We’ve got proof of it right here.
4= 2022 Abu Dhabi GP – HERE COMES SEBASTIAN VETTEL
“Here Comes Sebastian Vettel” is an iconic commentary line from the 2018 Belgian GP. F1 commentator David Croft said that as Vettel started overtaking Lewis Hamilton for the lead of the race on the opening lap. It’s one of Vettel’s most iconic moments in Formula 1, and in his final race in F1, Crofty said the infamous line one last time. Crafty said it as Vettel went down the inside into Turn 6 to overtake Pierre Gasly. That was a moment of closure that helped make Sebastian Vettel’s last race wholesome. Now let’s look at the Top 3 of the Top 10 Moments of F1 in 2022!
3: 2022 British GP – Hamilton’s Slick Double-Overtake Durin Fierce 4-Way Battle
The 2022 British GP was one of the most exciting races of the year. If someone said it was the best race of the year, that wouldn’t be a crazy statement, because the British GP really delivered. One of the many thrilling moments from that race was this double-overtake from Lewis Hamilton. The fans in the grandstand erupted as the Britain’s Sir Lewis Hamilton slipped through and gained 2 places in one go.
An intense battle was taking place between Perez, Leclerc and Hamilton as all 3 of them jostled for positions. They were in the last 10 laps of the race. Sainz had secured the lead, but P2 was very much up for grabs. Coming into the Vale Chicane, Perez and Leclerc were battling hard. Perez pushed Leclerc wide coming out of the chicane, and Lewis Hamilton took a tight line to slip past them both into P2. It was an incredible overtake. Unfortunately for him, he lost both positions in the following lap, and was left fending off Alonso in what became a 4-way battle.
After a year on the sidelines, Kevin Magnussen returned to F1 with Haas. He marked his return with a P5 finish at the 2022 Bahrain GP, which is when Gunther Steiner labeled his return as a “Viking Comeback.” At the 2022 Brazilian GP, Magnussen took his comeback to the next level by achieving something he had never achieved before. In a chaotic, wet qualifying session, Kevin Magnussen secured pole position! It was a fantastic moment of Formula 1.
In qualifying, Magnussen had managed to get into Q3, which was already an achievement given how he was competing with much stronger cars. In the early minutes of Q3, the track was dry, but it was getting wetter. Softs were still the optimal tire. Magnussen was at the front of the queue for exiting the pitlane, and got a lap in on the fresh softs. As the session progressed, the track got wetter, so the lap times were slower, meaning K-Mag was on provisional pole.
And then, George Russel crashed and caused a Red Flag with 8 minutes left in the session. By the time racing resumed, it was properly raining, meaning Kevin Magnussen would start the Sprint race on pole position. The Haas garage erupted in celebrations as K-Mag became their first ever pole sitter. It’s something that many, including me, won’t forget. It deserves its place on the Top 10 Moments of F1 in 2022. Kevin Magnussen will cherish this as one of, if not the best moment of his career (so far).
1: 2022 British GP – Zhou Guanyu Barrel Rolls
This incredible crash is one that the F1 world won’t forget for a long time. It’s one of the most major crashes in recent years in F1, and I believe is the most memorable of the Top 10 Moments of F1 in 2022.
The 2022 British GP had a hectic start, with 2 different crashes taking place simultaneously down into Turn 1. And one of those was Zhou Guanyu’s scary barrel roll. As the 5 red lights went out, Latifi got a strong start and gained 2 positions by going down the middle of Russell and Zhou. Pierre Gasly then saw an opportunity to do the same. He went down the middle and pulled halfway alongside the same drivers. But since the run from the grid to Turn 1 is short, Gasly decided to back off as the drivers began to brake for Turn 1. However, when Gasly slowed down, he clipped Russell’s rear-left tire, as Russel was moving across to try and defend from Zhou. Since Gasly clipped the Mercedes, the Silver Arrow spun and hit Zhou’s Alfa Romeo.
Zhou’s rear-right tire mounted the front-left tire of the spinning Mercedes. That rolled Zhou’s car over at a high speed and sent him straight off the track into the gravel trap. Since the car was upside down, the halo and the car’s engine cover scraped across the track. That friction caused sparks to fly. On top of that, the car was spinning while being upside down. When the car reached the gravel trap, it started bouncing and skipping across the gravel trap. That’s when the car was sent into a barrel roll. And since the car was going at high speed, it rolled over the tire barrier and hit the catch fencing. The car then fell in the gap between the tire barrier and the catch fencing.
That was an incredibly scary crash that left the whole F1 community shaken. The scariest part for me personally was the fact that Zhou Guanyu’s head was inches from the ground. You can see that in the pictures and videos of the crash. That crash led to safety investigations, especially because the Alfa Romeo’s roll hoop failed, leaving Zhou’s head dangerously close to the ground.
I hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane of the Top 10 moments of F1 in 2022! Be sure to check out our Race Reviews for detailed analysis of the important events in all of the races this year. Happy New Year, and enjoy F1ntastic!