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– Of course, a championship with these differences between first and second place will not bring the finals we saw last year. But with that, we have already sold the tickets for the remaining Doctors. I believe that in the coming years, the rules will lead to a significant reduction of the existing gap between the leader and others – assessed Stefano Domenicali, president of Formula 1.
Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc on the podium at the 2022 Italian GP, the Dutchman’s 11th win of the year – Photo: ANP via Getty Images
Ferrari’s individual and collective mistakes helped, but the strength shown from the start of the season by the RB18, the RBR car, spoke volumes; the Austrian team has remained unbeaten since taking the lead in the drivers’ championship with Max Verstappen at the Spanish GP in May.
The F1 champion has 335 points in the Drivers’ Championship, 116 more than second-placed Charles Leclerc, and has won 11 more in 16 races. If the championship is decided at the Singapore GP on October 2, it will be the biggest points difference since Sebastian’s fourth championship Vettel in the same RBR in 2013 (155 points over Fernando Alonso).
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The team led by Christian Horner is also heading for a fifth straight constructors’ championship, breaking a nine-year drought since the last victory.
RBR has 545 points in the table, 139 more than Ferrari, in second place – and the team is still threatened by the rising Mercedes, just 35 points behind it.
Max Verstappen driving the RB18, RBR, in front of Dutch fans at the Dutch GP – Photo: Clive Mason/Getty Images
That is a stark contrast to 2021, marked by a theoretical battle between Verstappen and seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton until the final round of the year.
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By comparison, in 16 of the 22 races of the season (the same amount this year), the Dutchman led the Drivers’ Championship with 262.5 points, six more than his rival Mercedes. And the German team, for its part, was at the top with 433.5 goals, 36 more than RBR.
– It is important to understand how certain performance gaps can be filled quickly. We need to see how much the cars performance was affected by the controls, and how much was due to reliability or management issues. Good analysis is also needed to understand what caused the wide gap between leaders and others. Because if we look at the rank in general, we see that behind the leader there is a stronger struggle than in the past. I want to look on the bright side – reflected Domenicali.
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Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton shake hands after qualifying for the Abu Dhabi GP, the final round of 2021 – Photo: Peter Fox/Getty Images
While RBR is swimming in a stroke, and Ferrari and Mercedes are trying to recover the losses, the middle class is facing special events in F1 in 2022: Alpine and McLaren, for example, are fighting for the position of “the best of the rest”, and the French. leading team for the best.
Below them, 50 points apart, Alfa Romeo, Haas, AlphaTauri, Aston Martin and Williams face a lack of stability and also, in some cases, reliability; the weekly battle is for points, an easy task for the Italian-Swiss team led by Valtteri Bottas.
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