Alex Albon’s 2022 Australian Grand Prix will be remembered for his incredibly long stint on the hard tyres at the start of the race.
Driving the slowest car on the grid, Albon went 57 laps to go from the back of the grid to finish 10th – picking up Williams’ first point of the year.
How did it happen?
Albon dropped to the back of the grid after he was excluded from qualifying for failing to provide a fuel sample.
Running long on the hards, Albon made his way into the points, but even with a Virtual Safety Car thanks to Max Verstappen’s stricken Red Bull, Williams didn’t decide to stop him.
Albon’s pace was fantastic when in clear air, managing to pull away from Esteban Ocon behind.
He ultimately stopped with one lap to go for softs, rejoining just ahead of Zhou Guanyu for 10th and the final point.
“We looked at our race predictions and we looked a bit sad,” Albon said. “It was a race where we took risks, because we felt like no matter what we did we were going to finish 19th or 20th.
“We went into the race starting our race, taking a bit of time to build the tyres up into a nice window, and when you start last you can afford to do that.”
Lando Norris was the only midfield driver to finish on the podium during the entirety of the 2022 season.
Whenever it is wet or changeable conditions, Norris is always a contender, even in subpar machinery.
A strong qualifying and sprint race allowed Norris to qualify fifth on the grid.
He quickly moved up to third, before running in fourth for the majority of the race.
Charles Leclerc’s spin at Variante Alta chasing Sergio Perez for second, promoted Norris onto the podium.
Norris had George Russell and Valtteri Bottas chasing him down in the closing laps, with the latter recovering from a slow pit stop to finish fifth.
McLaren didn’t have the third, or probably fourth-best car on the day, but Norris made the most of it.
There were few highs for Pierre Gasly in his final year with AlphaTauri, however, the 2022 Azerbaijan Grand Prix was one.
Gasly qualified a superb sixth, splitting the two Mercedes drivers.
On race day, Gasly maintained sixth over Lewis Hamilton, opting to pit under the Virtual Safety Car.
He moved up to fourth, gaining two places due to the two Ferrari retirements.
AlphaTauri didn’t stop Gasly again at the second VSC, allowing Hamilton to overtake him in the closing laps.
“We knew we would get a chance to do well after seeing our pace in Monaco,” Gasly said. “To be fighting with Lewis probably not, so I would say it was slightly better than we expected.
“I’m really pleased because we did no mistakes all weekend. We showed really good speed in practice, we managed to translate it into a good qualifying position. And today was good.”
Ocon’s finest weekend of the year came at Suzuka.
The Frenchman managed to out-qualify and out-race both Mercedes drivers on merit.
His mettle was put to the test as he defended masterly from Hamilton for most of Sunday’s shortened grand prix.
It was his and Alpine’s best result of the year with fourth.
“To finish fourth is a fantastic result for us, especially in these conditions,” Ocon said after the race.
“It was a difficult start with the rain and poor visibility, so we had to be fully focused to get through the early stages. I’m glad we managed to race and reward the fans who have been so good in their support all weekend.”
Kevin Magnussen’s Sao Paulo weekend will go down as one of the most memorable moments of the season.
While his Sunday didn’t go to plan, the Dane deserves a spot on this list for his incredible display in qualifying.
Magnussen claimed a shock pole position at Interlagos, securing his and Haas’ maiden qualifying win.
He went quickest of anyone during the only dry laps in Q3 before the session was suspended when Russell beached his Mercedes in the gravel.
Rain started to fall while the red flag was out, preventing Magnussen’s rivals from improving when the session restarted with eight minutes left on the clock, enabling him to secure a sensational pole.
Magnussen would drop down to eighth in the sprint, before being punted out by Daniel Ricciardo in the grand prix.