F1 Driver of the Day: Who has won the award in F1 2022?

Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin, shields his eyes. Japan, October 2022. Credit: Alamy
Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin, shields his eyes. Japan, October 2022. Credit: Alamy

First introduced in 2016, the Driver of the Day award is voted for by fans and awarded to the driver with the highest percentage of the vote at the time of closing, which is the penultimate lap of a race.

Romain Grosjean won the first award back at the 2016 Australian Grand Prix before repeating the feat at the next race in Bahrain.

Heading into the 2022 season, a total of 121 awards had been handed out with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen scooping the most so far.

Here are all the winners of the award so far in 2022 and what they did to achieve it:

F1 Driver of the Day: Bahrain Grand Prix

Charles Leclerc

Ferrari proved they meant business in the opening race of the season and so did Leclerc. He stormed to pole in Sakhir before holding off the Red Bull of Verstappen, who would later go on to DNF in what threatened to be a recurring theme of the team’s season. The Italian team’s day was made even better when Carlos Sainz finished behind Leclerc to give Ferrari the one-two.

Leclerc’s 28.3% share of the vote is the highest achieved by a driver so far this season.

Meanwhile Kevin Magnussen came just shy of scooping the award himself after impressing with a P5 on his return to the sport.

Charles Leclerc – 28.3%
Kevin Magnussen – 22.5%
Max Verstappen – 9%
Lewis Hamilton – 5.1%
Zhou Guanyu – 5%

F1 Driver of the Day: Saudi Arabia Grand Prix

Charles Leclerc

He may not have won the race but Leclerc picked up the Driver of the Day award for the second time in as many races, largely due to his epic battle with Verstappen.

The pair’s wheel-to-wheel fight demonstrated how much of a game changer the 2022 regulations are as we saw close-up battles for the first time. With eight laps remaining, Verstappen caught up with Leclerc but the Ferrari man was smart in allowing the Dutchman to overtake so that it would be him and not the Red Bull driver who got DRS.

The two battled it out for the next few laps until Verstappen was able to make the move stick in the final lap but Leclerc finished just 0.5 seconds behind him.

Charles Leclerc – 26.8%
Max Verstappen – 14.5%
Lewis Hamilton – 10.1%
Sergio Perez – 9.5%
Kevin Magnussen – 7.5%

F1 Driver of the Day: Australian Grand Prix

Charles Leclerc

Leclerc made it a hat-trick of wins at the earliest possible opportunity as he took pole, fastest lap and the race win in Melbourne. The Monegasque was in imperious form as fought off Verstappen once more.

In the 27th lap of the race, Verstappen looked as if he had his best chance at an overtake but Leclerc produced some excellent defensive moves to keep himself ahead before the Red Bull car would once again fail and give the Ferrari driver the win.

Charles Leclerc – 19.7%
Sergio Perez – 14.8%
Daniel Ricciardo – 9.4%
George Russell – 9.3%
Alex Albon – 8.2%

F1 Driver of the Day: Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Max Verstappen

At Imola, it was Red Bull and Verstappen’s turn for a dominant performance. Having seemingly put their reliability woes behind them, the Dutchman qualified on pole before winning the first Sprint race of the season.

In the Grand Prix, Verstappen was handed a gift when a strip of tarmac laid on the right hand side of the track to cover the old start line proved slippier than the rest of the grid, meaning those who started second and fourth (Leclerc and Sainz) got off to a poor start.

Leclerc was jumped by Lando Norris who provided the perfect buffer between the Ferraris and the disappearing Red Bulls. Verstappen eased to a comfortable victory, including a bonus point for the fastest lap, while his Championship rival Leclerc ended sixth.

Verstappen’s 14.7% share of the vote is currently the lowest figure to earn the reward this season.

Max Verstappen – 14.7%
Sergio Perez – 11.5%
Lando Norris – 11%
George Russell – 9.3%
Yuki Tsunoda – 8.7%

F1 Driver of the Day: Miami Grand Prix

Max Verstappen

Verstappen may have qualified third but he would go on to be crowned the inaugural winner at the Miami track. He was aggressive from the outset, gobbling up Sainz on the second corner before going after race leader Leclerc. Eight laps later and he got his man.

He darted down the inside of turn one and Leclerc had no answer as the quick Red Bull began to pull away. Even when a Safety Car threatened to give the DRS-powered Leclerc another chance, Verstappen kept him at arm’s length.

A special mention should be made for Mick Schumacher who reached the top five for the first time with what looked like a real chance to secure his first points. Unfortunately for the German, he collided with his compatriot and mentor Sebastian Vettel to scupper any hopes he may have had of breaking his duck.

Max Verstappen – 18%
Mick Schumacher – 14.5%
George Russell – 12.7%
Charles Leclerc – 8.6%
Sergio Perez – 7.6%

F1 Driver of the Day: Spanish Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton made contact with Kevin Magnussen in the opening lap but that did not stop him as he went from asking the team if they should retire the car to P5.

The team dangled the carrot of a potential P8 to him but he went above and beyond that. As one of the quickest drivers on the track, he navigated his way through practically the entire grid until he forced himself into contention for a podium. He made it to P4 but was forced to surrender that to Sainz as a late problem with the car meant he had to ease off.

Lewis Hamilton – 22.8%
Sergio Perez – 16.3%
George Russell – 15.7%
Max Verstappen – 11.4%
Fernando Alonso – 6.9%

F1 Driver of the Day: Monaco Grand Prix

Sergio Perez

It was quite the turnaround for Perez who ended Saturday, and the session, by crashing into the wall at Portier during qualifying but the Mexican shook off any disappointment he may have been feeling to win at Monaco for the first time.

One race after being at the wrong end of team orders, Perez showed he at least deserves a seat at the table with an assured drive powered by Red Bull’s superior strategy over Ferrari.

On fading tyres, Perez was able to keep Sainz, Verstappen and Leclerc behind as he crossed the line in P1, earning him more than double the vote of any other driver.

Sergio Perez – 27.6%
Pierre Gasly – 10.5%
Carlos Sainz – 9.9%
Charles Leclerc – 8.8%
Fernando Alonso – 7.4%

F1 Driver of the Day: Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton

In one of the closest votes to date, it was Hamilton who came out on top, just pipping Verstappen by 1.2% of the vote. Hamilton was rewarded for the immense pain he suffered during the race.

As he exited the car, which had bumped and rattled worse than it had all season, he was seen clutching his back in pain.

Still, he soldiered through the two-hour endurance test to move from a starting spot of P7 to P4. Thankfully for Hamilton and his back, this was one of the last times that the car seemed to show serious porpoising issues.

Lewis Hamilton – 14.8%
Max Verstappen – 13.6%
Sebastian Vettel – 13.1%
Sergio Perez – 10%
Pierre Gasly – 9.3%

F1 Driver of the Day: Canadian Grand Prix

Charles Leclerc

Having been forced to take a penalty for a new power unit, Leclerc found himself at the back of the grid as the lights went out in Montreal. But it did not deter him and he used the pace of the Ferrari to make his way through the field.

His ascent was sustained throughout the race and even in lap 55 of the 70 lap race, he was down in seventh place. However, he was able to pass both Alpines of Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon to move into P5. Despite the impressive performance, it did not match Leclerc’s standards who stated he was after a P4 finish.

Charles Leclerc – 21.6%
Lewis Hamilton – 11.9%
Carlos Sainz – 10.6%
Max Verstappen – 10.2%
Fernando Alonso – 6%

F1 Driver of the Day: British Grand Prix

Sergio Perez

A performance that has come to define Perez’s career in recent years as he battled the odds, and the entirety of the pack, to race from last place to the podium. In the opening lap of the restarted race, the Mexican suffered damage after contact with Leclerc and was forced to pit for a new front wing.

From there, he fought his way back up through the pack until he was amongst the front runners once more. Towards the end of the race, he participated in a crazy battle for the lead with Sainz, Leclerc, Perez and Hamilton all involved. However, the Mexican could not quite complete the comeback of all comebacks as he finished behind Sainz.

A special note should also be made of the 20% share that went to Hamilton who finished on the podium in his home race as well as Sainz, who could feel hard done by having not won the award following his first race victory.

Sergio Perez – 20.7%
Lewis Hamilton – 20%
Carlos Sainz – 11.1%
Charles Leclerc – 9%
Mick Schumacher – 7.1%

F1 Driver of the Day: Austrian Grand Prix

Mick Schumacher

Perhaps harshly missing out on his first points score in the sport at Silverstone, Schumacher looked delighted to learn he had been nominated as the fan’s favourite in Austria.

It was a deserved vote as well. Having been frustrated at team orders (or the lack of) in the Sprint race, Schumacher took some of that anger that characterised his father’s career and produced an excellent drive. He maximised the pace of the Haas and thanks to the retirement of Perez and Sainz, he finished a career high of P6.

Mick Schumacher – 24.5%
Charles Leclerc – 15.3%
Lewis Hamilton – 10.1%
Max Verstappen – 9.6%
Carlos Sainz – 8%

F1 Driver of the Day: French Grand Prix

Carlos Sainz

After taking an almost entirely new power unit, Sainz had to start from the back row at Paul Ricard – and completed a mammoth recovery drive, which could well have even been a podium.

He fought through the field, and with his own team at times, to move into P3 as he overtook Sergio Perez late on the race. But, as it has for much of the season, Ferrari’s strategy let him down as the team decided to pit him citing the tyres as the reason. The Spaniard recovered to earn a respectable P5.

Carlos Sainz – 40.4%
Lewis Hamilton – 13%
Max Verstappen – 10.7%
Charles Leclerc – 6.4%
Sergio Perez – 5.4%

F1 Driver of the Day: Hungarian Grand Prix

Max Verstappen

Verstappen took a superb victory in Hungary after starting all the way back in P10, following a power unit issue that hampered his Q3 session.

He rose up several places on the first lap, and the Dutchman and Red Bull kept their cool as Ferrari’s strategy proved to be the incorrect one, while he kept making his way up through the field.

Others pitting around him ended up seeing Verstappen rise up to the net lead of the race – even having enough scope to have a mid-race spin to take an excellent win.

Max Verstappen – 34.2%
Lewis Hamilton – 16.4%
George Russell – 11%
Sebastian Vettel – 8.7%
Charles Leclerc – 6.6%

F1 Driver of the Day: Belgian Grand Prix

Max Verstappen

Was it ever in doubt? After an utterly dominant display at Spa, Verstappen comfortably won this Driver of the Day award.

Despite starting P14 due to a power unit-related grid penalty, Verstappen made swift progress up the order and was into the podium places by the eighth lap.

Taking the lead on Lap 18, Verstappen never looked back as he went on to head a comfortable one-two finish for Red Bull.

Max Verstappen – 31.9%
Sebastian Vettel – 7.6%
Alex Albon – 6.8%
Charles Leclerc – 6.5%
George Russell – 6.4%

F1 Driver of the Day: Dutch Grand Prix

Max Verstappen

Verstappen made it a hat-trick of DOTD awards in front of his home crowd but it was a much tighter affair than the last two races were.

The Red Bull driver was made to work for his win in Zandvoort as Mercedes’ one-stop strategy seemed to have given them an advantage but a Virtual Safety Car followed by a Safety Car put the ball back in Verstappen’s court.

On fresher tyres, Verstappen overtook Hamilton immediately after the restart and soon became a dot on the horizon as he extended his Championship lead to 109 points.

He picked up the DOTD award by just 2.5% over Hamilton.

Max Verstappen – 22.6%
Lewis Hamilton – 20.1%
George Russell – 9.5%
Fernando Alonso – 8.8%
Charles Leclerc – 6.9%

F1 Driver of the Day: Italian Grand Prix

Nyck de Vries

First F1 race, first F1 points and Driver of the Day? All in an afternoon’s work for Nyck de Vries. He went from sipping coffee in the Mercedes motorhome on Saturday to lining up on the grid in a Williams car on the Sunday owing to Alex Albon’s bout of appendicitis.

The Dutchman impressed during his first qualifying run, finishing P13 which was later promoted to P8 due to grid penalties, and held his own in the race as well.

He was consistently in the points and ahead of team-mate Nicholas Latifi, who has had a whole season to get used to the car rather than just one practice session.

But late in the race, it looked as if De Vries may lose out on a points place as Zhou Guanyu battled him for P10, however he was given a lifeline with Daniel Ricciardo’s exit. The resultant Safety Car meant not only did he keep Zhou behind him but De Vries also moved up a spot to finish P9 on his first ever F1 run-out.

Even a call to the stewards room post-race for alleged erratic driving could not spoil his day as he was given a reprimand rather than a penalty.

Nyck de Vries – 24.8%
Carlos Sainz – 21.1%
Max Verstappen – 13.2%
Lewis Hamilton – 11.1%
Charles Leclerc – 7.4%

F1 Driver of the Day: Singapore Grand Prix

Sergio Perez

The Mexican produced what Christian Horner described as the race of his career to win on treacherous conditions in Singapore. Perez started P2 but overtook Charles Leclerc going into the first corner and never looked back.

He held off the Ferrari man in the latter stages having twice seen his lead reduced due to Safety Car incidents before confirming the fourth win of his career.

There was a late scare though as he was summoned to the stewards post-race for two Safety Car infringements but escaped with a five-second penalty and a reprimand, meaning the victory stayed his.

Sergio Perez – 22.6%
Daniel Ricciardo – 16.8%
Charles Leclerc – 9.6%
Lando Norris – 9.4%
Sebastian Vettel – 7.9%

F1 Driver of the Day: Japanese Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel

The German made no attempt to hide his love of Suzuka, describing it as a gift from the Gods and better than any other circuit out there, and in his last appearance there as an F1 driver, he did not disappoint.

His race started in the worst possible manner when he spun going into the first corner following a collision with Fernando Alonso but the subsequent red flag proved a blessing in disguise for him. Vettel’s position at the back meant he could gamble early and switch to the inters straight away and it proved very beneficial.

He clung on to P6, finishing just 0.011s ahead of Alonso and won the Driver of the Day award as well.

Sebastian Vettel – 16.3%
Esteban Ocon – 14.5%
Max Verstappen – 13.2%
Nicholas Latifi – 9.7%
Lewis Hamilton – 7.3%

F1 Driver of the Day: United States Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel

Picking up the award at Suzuka, Vettel decided that he wanted another as a splendid display at the Circuit of The Americas drew praise from the fans.

Having briefly led the United States GP, Vettel thought he was in the hunt for a potential podium before a very slow stop dropped him out of the points.

He fought back tremendously though, completing a last-lap pass on Kevin Magnussen, described by 2009 F1 champ Jenson Button as one of the best he has seen, to recover to P8 at the line.

Four points in the bag and a second Driver of the Day award for the season.

Sebastian Vettel – 18.4%
Lewis Hamilton – 18%
Fernando Alonso – 15%
Charles Leclerc – 10.3%
Max Verstappen – 10.2%

F1 Driver of the Day: Mexico City Grand Prix

Daniel Ricciardo

Daniel Ricciardo drove like a man possessed in the final stages of the Mexico City Grand Prix. A ten-second penalty for causing a collision with Yuki Tsunoda, who had to retire shortly after, was the catalyst for the Aussie to do his damnedest to limit the damage of the hefty punishment.

Ricciardo, who is set to sit out the F1 2023 season in a reserve driver role after McLaren opted to end his contract one year early, chewed up and spat out a number of midfield drivers to finish in the lofty heights of P7.

Crucially, his attacking antics in the final few laps ensured that, even with the penalty, he still finished inside the points.

Has a driver ever won a Driver of the Day award after ending the race of another driver?!

Daniel Ricciardo – 24.4%
Sergio Perez – 16.7%
Max Verstappen – 12%
Lewis Hamilton – 10.6%
Sebastian Vettel – 5%

F1 Driver of the Day: Sao Paulo Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton

Not for the first time, Hamilton had to produce a recovery drive at Interlagos to earn another excellent result in his new ‘home’ country, having been made an official honorary Brazilian citizen in the week leading up to the race.

He started on the front row alongside Mercedes team-mate George Russell, but early contact with Max Verstappen dropped him down to eighth on the road.

He was able to make his way back up through the field however, picking his way through the pack back up to second and finishing just behind Russell, who took an emotional first ever Formula 1 victory around Interlagos.

Lewis Hamilton – 17.1%
Fernando Alonso – 16%
George Russell – 12.5%
Charles Leclerc – 11.3%
Carlos Sainz – 6.4%

F1 Driver of the Day: Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel

Was it ever going to be anyone else? One of the most beloved drivers in Formula 1 bowed out with a final career point as well as the Driver of the Day award.

It had looked that Vettel may be heading for a pointless race when Aston Martin opted for a one-stop while those around him plumped for two but, helped by Hamilton’s retirement ahead of him, the German crept into the final point-paying spot.

The result means he ends his career with 53 wins, 122 podiums and 3,098 points. A fine achievement.

Sebastian Vettel – 56.6%
Sergio Perez – 9.1%
Charles Leclerc – 6.5%
Lewis Hamilton – 5.5%
Daniel Ricciardo – 4.8%

Who has won the most F1 Driver of the Day awards this season?

Max Verstappen – 5
Charles Leclerc – 4
Sergio Perez – 3
Lewis Hamilton – 3
Sebastian Vettel – 3
Mick Schumacher – 1
Carlos Sainz – 1
Nyck de Vries – 1
Daniel Ricciardo – 1

 

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