Charles Leclerc scored the fifth grand prix victory of his career in Austria last weekend. If that seems like a surprisingly small total, that may be because he’s also had 15 pole positions.Max Verstappen pipped him to pole position on Friday by just 0.029 seconds, and Leclerc chased him home in the sprint race.
Leclerc’s fifth win puts him level with Giuseppe Farina, Clay Regazzoni, John Watson, Michele Alboreto and Keke Rosberg. He took it in the 100th Formula 1 event he has participated in. Leclerc only started in 91 of those event, however: he did four practice sessions each for Haas and Sauber (now Alfa Romeo) as a test driver, and failed to start in Monaco last year when his engine failed.
Esteban Ocon, meanwhile, did start his 100th race, and marked it with his best finish of the season so far, taking fifth.
For the second sprint event running, Max Verstappen set pole position and won Saturday’s race. As of this year, F1 says it is officially designating the the driver who takes pole position in conventional qualifying as the weekend’s pole-winner, notwithstanding the fact that another driver could still start the grand prix from first place. This contradiction hasn’t arisen yet: Will it be third time lucky in Brazil?
Verstappen therefore had his 16th pole position by either metric, which puts him level with two drivers who unlike him never won the world championship: Stirling Moss and Felipe Massa.
When Leclerc passed Verstappen for the lead on the 12th lap, it brought to an end a remarkable run by the Red Bull driver at the head of the field at the team’s home event. Verstappen also led every lap of the sprint race and throughout both of last year’s grands prix at the Red Bull Ring: A total of 176 consecutive laps at the front of the field.
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Leclerc delivered Ferrari’s first Austrian Grand Prix victory since Michael Schumacher won in 2003, which was the last F1 race at the track for 11 races. Schumacher experienced a brief fire during a refuelling stop on his way to victory; Leclerc’s team mate Carlos Sainz Jnr had a more serious, race-ending fire in his Ferrari last weekend.
Ferrari, who won the first world championship Austrian Grand Prix in 1964, the only one to take place on the unloved Zeltweg airfield circuit, have now tied McLaren for the most victories in this race, with six. Mercedes have five, plus one at the same venue when it held the Styrian Grand Prix in 2020.
Lewis Hamilton continued his improved run by finishing third for the third race in a row. Three places back, Mick Schumacher improved on his career-best result, one week after reaching the points for the first time at Silverstone. Curiously, Schumacher matched his father’s performance in the first race on this version of the circuit now known as the Red Bull Ring, by starting ninth and finishing sixth.
This was also the second consecutive race in which Haas scored points with both their cars. They last managed this in the final two 2018, when Kevin Magnussen was paired with Romain Grosjean. Having been third in the constructors championship after the first race, Haas fell to ninth two races ago, but are now back up to seventh.
The Austrian Grand Prix marks the halfway point in this year’s championship. As the 2022 F1 calendar now features 22 races, the same as last year, we can directly compare how the teams and drivers are doing compared to the same point last season.
Ferrari are by far the most improved team with 140 points more than at this stage last year. That’s more than twice the gain of any other team.
While Mercedes’ fall from grace has been conspicuous, McLaren have actually suffered a steeper drop in points since this time last year.
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Despite a disappointing start to the season for Mercedes by their standards, George Russell has the greatest points gain of any driver compared to last year after joining them from Williams.
Conversely the driver he replaced, Valtteri Bottas, has experienced one of the biggest drops having joined from Alfa Romeo. But that still falls short of Hamilton’s 86-point slump year-on-year.
Have you spotted any other interesting stats and facts from the Austrian Grand Prix? Share them in the comments.
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2022 Austrian Grand Prix
- “Oh, so unlucky!” How Alonso’s cursed Austrian Grand Prix unfolded on his radio
- Ferrari believe their performance deficit to Red Bull is now “negligible”
- AlphaTauri “desperately” need upgrades after “disaster” weekend, urges Gasly
- Mercedes explain why Russell was given older rear wing instead of Hamilton after crashes
- Ferrari is most-improved team year-on-year at halfway point in 2022
17 comments on “Ferrari is most-improved team year-on-year at halfway point in 2022”
13th July 2022, 13:17
For the first time in his entire F1 career, Seb qualified dead last on merit.
Russell’s top-five finishing record whenever he’s finished is still on.
On the other hand, his teammate could get considered both Mr. Consistency & P3.
Perez got punted off at T4 again after he got punted off by Norris last season, & for Mercedes, the same to a Red Bull also twice at T4 with Hamilton-Albon the previous such incident two years ago.
Perez’s 100% classified finishing record at Red Bull Ring ended with his only previous non-finish occurring in the 2016 race.
Mclaren’s third double-points finish this season & first since Baku.
Christopher Rehn (@chrischrill)
13th July 2022, 15:00
Interesting to see McLaren actually doing comparably worse than Mercedes. I wasn’t expecting that, seeing how Lando has been on the podium this year.
13th July 2022, 17:16
McLaren started very well last year but finished that season weakly, while this year they had issues, and very remained with few scores from Riccardo.
13th July 2022, 17:07
Eee, Leclerc (as us Yorkshire racefans say)…
The good news for the championship is it feels like Ferrari is one of the underachieving teams, despite all the progress from last year. With the exploding engines and seizing fourth places from the jaws of victory, if lessons are learned there’s loads of potential for a stronger second half to the season.
Dan Rooke (@geekzilla9000)
13th July 2022, 17:59
@bullfrog That is a very good point – Ferrari have the fastest or second fastest car but like you say there’so much “left in tank” when it comes to actual points scoring potential.
And I too am a fellow Yorkshire Racefan! (Doncaster)
Jim from US (@jimfromus)
13th July 2022, 17:29
Is there a stat for points per laps completed to date? Ferrari should be way ahead with all of their retirements.
15th July 2022, 15:42
I can give you Laps completed per point,
You’d be wrong on the Ferrari front.
15th July 2022, 15:44
Picture that should have been attached to previous message
Just a Fan
13th July 2022, 17:54
After 11 races, and only 1 costly mistake from Leclerc (Imola). Not to shabby. Ah well, if he doesn’t win the WDC, at least he’s driving the max out of the Ferrari.. Can’t say the same with Vettel in 2017/18. So that should soften the disappointment blow.
13th July 2022, 22:00
2017 from vettel wasn’t too terrible btw, leclerc has made mistakes too this year, notably at imola, but 2018 was absolutely a waste in the best season for ferrari in recent years.
13th July 2022, 19:06
Surely it was a driveshaft that stopped Charles Leclerc starting Monaco 2021 from pole?
14th July 2022, 11:45
It’s italian engineering.
Kim Philby (@philby)
13th July 2022, 19:20
Common misconception. In 2017 Ferrari started great and Vettel was in top form while Hamilton had his off days (Russia, Monaco). In the summer the td about oil burning was a blow to Ferrari, evident on all power tracks, Silverstone, Spa, Monza. Singapore was the turning point a huge turnaround after which Ferrari never recovered. And after that reliabiity in Sepang and Suzuka was the final nail in the coffin. So in essence Vettel’s brilliance in the first half made the year interesting, Mercedes had the better car over the course of the year and won but on a driver performance level Vettel matched Hamilton surpassed even at the first half.
In 2018 Ferrari had a genuine chance and Vettel blew it singlehanddedly.
16th July 2022, 10:09
13th July 2022, 22:51
Closest top 3 in Q3 since Sakhir 2020.
Second time (after Netherlands 2021) that both Russell and his team-mate have crashed in the same part of qualifying in front of an army of Verstappen fans.
Alpine’s first ever Sprint points.
No driver has finished 8th more than once on a Sunday this year.
Red Bull’s first non-mechanical DNF this year – all teams have now had at least 1.
Verstappen’s 129th start for Red Bull – equals Webber.
3rd consecutive race in Austria where Verstappen has started from pole – he had started 2nd in the 3 Austrian races before that.
5th time in 2022 that Mercedes have finished 3-4 – they have yet to manage a top 2 finish.
Thanks to statsf1 and the official F1 site for some of these.
14th July 2022, 9:52
Everyone to the hype train
Jelle van der Meer (@)
15th July 2022, 11:49
Max scored his 68th podium, moving him ahead of Bottas and is now joined 8th with Barichello’s.
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