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F1 Grand Prix of Brazil SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 13: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB18 leads Sergio Perez of Mexico driving the (11) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB18 on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Brazil at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 13, 2022 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

F1 2022 season review: Red Bull destroy opposition despite early obstacles

Red Bull nailed the new regulations, propelling the Austrian team to a dominant 2022 season as the team set multiple new records

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Red Bull secured their fifth Constructors’ Championship alongside Max Verstappen winning his second Drivers’ Championship, capping off a successful year for the Austrian team.

F1 Grand Prix of Abu DhabiABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 20: Race Winner Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing and Third placed Sergio Perez of Mexico and Oracle Red Bull Racing, Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner and Red Bull Racing Team Consultant Dr Helmut Marko celebrate with their team after the F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi at Yas Marina Circuit on November 20, 2022 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Red Bull celebrating their successful 2022 season after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix (Image Credit: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

The Milton Keynes-based outfit ended the season on 759 points in the Constructors’ Championship. Their closest challenger was Ferrari, ending 205 points behind the Austrian team.

Red Bull came into the 2022 season off the back of narrowly missing out on the Constructors’ Championship to Mercedes. The Austrian team missed out to the Silver Arrows by 28 points in 2021. However, Max Verstappen was able to secure his first Drivers’ Championship, narrowly beating Lewis Hamilton.

This season, however, Red Bull were dominant as they set new records, such as Max Verstappen winning 15 races – the most ever in a single season. Furthermore, Red Bull won 17 of the 22 races, showing just how dominant the team were in 2022.

Woeful start to the season

The Milton Keynes team were favourites with Ferrari after the final pre-season testing in Bahrain. Red Bull Chief Technical Officer Adrian Newey came up with a new design after Barcelona, benefitting the team significantly.

However, disaster struck in the first race at Bahrain. Verstappen was fighting Charles Leclerc for the race lead. But the Monegasque had much more pace in his Ferrari than the Dutchman. Therefore, Verstappen was looking to secure a second-place finish.

Unfortunately, on lap 54, Verstappen was forced to retire from the race with an engine problem. Things only got worse for Red Bull as Sergio Perez also retired on the penultimate lap, ending in a double retirement for the team.

Despite the early setback, Verstappen went onto win the race in Jeddah after an intense battle with Leclerc. But he suffered yet another retirement in Australia, ending with Leclerc winning the race by over 20 seconds.

Verstappen believed that the title race was already over after the Australian Grand Prix. He fell 50 points behind Leclerc at the top, making the 25-year-old believe that Ferrari were too strong for the Austrian team.

F1 Grand Prix of AustraliaMELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 10: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing walks from his car after retiring from the race during the F1 Grand Prix of Australia at Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit on April 10, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia.
Verstappen checking his Red Bull RB18 after retiring from the Australian Grand Prix (Image Credit: Clive Mason/Getty Images)
The start of the turnaround

Round four in Imola saw the start of Red Bull’s turnaround. Sadly for Leclerc, he made his first driver error of the season, spinning into the wall. As a result, Verstappen went on to finish the race in first ahead of his teammate Perez in a Red Bull one-two.

For the next five races, Red Bull demonstrated their dominance with five consecutive wins. Verstappen won in Miami, Spain, Azerbaijan and Canada and Perez secured his maiden victory in Monaco.

The championship swung in Red Bull’s favour. Ferrari were going through a rough patch in terms of retirements, strategy errors and driver errors. However, the Scuderia had a change of fortune with victories in Britain and Austria.

Dominance after the summer break

When Formula 1 resumed after the summer break, Red Bull asserted their dominance. The Austrian team won eight of the remaining nine races. Verstappen won seven of those as Perez took victory in the Singapore Grand Prix.

Ferrari did not have an answer to Red Bull’s pace. Former Ferrari Team Principal Mattia Binotto believed that the Scuderia could win 10 races in a row after Leclerc’s crash in Paul Ricard.

However, Ferrari struggled – in the race especially – with tyre degradation. Meanwhile, Red Bull were good on managing their tyres, allowing them to have better race pace than the Maranello team.

Verstappen secured his second Drivers’ Championship at a rain-soaked Japanese Grand Prix. Two weeks later, Red Bull comfortably secured the Constructors’ Championship at the United States Grand Prix.

F1 Grand Prix of JapanSUZUKA, JAPAN - OCTOBER 09: Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing and The Netherlands during the F1 Grand Prix of Japan at Suzuka International Racing Course on October 09, 2022 in Suzuka, Japan.
Verstappen secured his second world title after a comfortable victory in Japan (Image Credit: Peter Fox/Getty Images)
Driver comparison

Verstappen clearly had the better season overall than his teammate Perez. The Dutchman won over 68% of the 22 races this season, whilst the Mexican only managed two triumphs.

The two-time world champion also had more pole positions than Perez, securing seven compared to his teammate’s one. The final standings saw Verstappen score 149 points more than Perez in the Drivers’ Championship, scoring 454 points.

At the start of the season, it looked as though Perez had closed the gap to Verstappen from last year. He secured pole position at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, beating his teammate on pure raw speed.

Many shouts were going around of Perez potentially being in the title fight early on in the season. These assumptions came after the 32-year-old’s maiden victory in Monaco. It was a good weekend for the Mexican driver as after he won in Monaco, he was awarded with a new contract extension, running up until the end of the 2024 season.

F1 Grand Prix of Abu DhabiABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 20: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB18 leads Sergio Perez of Mexico driving the (11) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB18 on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi at Yas Marina Circuit on November 20, 2022 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Verstappen was better than Perez for the majority of the season (Image Credit: Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images)

However, upgrades to the car suited Verstappen more, resulting in Perez falling away in terms of pace to the Dutchman. The two-time world champion prefers a car that offers more rotation, meaning the rear of the car will be loose. On the other hand, Perez prefers more of a stable rear, enabling the Mexican to maximise his driving style, saving tyres efficiently.

Overall, Verstappen had a much better season than Perez. The latter will be hoping to be a lot closer next year, considering how far ahead Verstappen has managed to be for the past two season.

But, Red Bull now have Daniel Ricciardo as their reserve driver. For Perez, he will have to ensure that his performances are up to the standard required to keep the seat.

What to expect for 2023

Red Bull have nailed the new regulations to a tee, making the Austrian team a strong favourite going into the 2023 season. However, the Bulls do have a limitation that could cost them next year.

The Milton Keynes outfit were found guilty of overspending the cost cap in 2021. It was deemed as a minor offence. Therefore, a $7 million fine was handed out but they also received a 10% reduction in wind tunnel testing. This could potentially hurt Red Bull’s 2023 season.

Ferrari will be looking to bounce back strong after not living up to the potential that the 2022 season could have been for them. Mercedes will also be aiming to fight back at the front again after a bad start to the regulations and will hope to replicate George Russell’s win in Sao Paulo.

With all of these factors in place, a three-way title battle could be on the horizon in 2023 between Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes.

Do you think Red Bull can fend off Mercedes and Ferrari to become victorious once again in 2023, despite having to face the punishments from the cost cap breach?

Feature Image Credit: Chris Graythen via Getty Images

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