F1 Power Rankings: The Japanese Grand Prix (Suzuka)

Japanese Grand Prix 2022 Podium

Max Verstappen came away a 2x Champion after a controversial Japanese Grand Prix. But how do the others stack up in the F1 Power Rankings?

After a wet race, with a second lap Carlos Sainz crash that lead to some controversy, Max Verstappen won and was able to take the Championship. That also wasn’t without some controversy in itself, with Charles Leclerc being given a 5-second penalty and forcing him to drop from second to third. Verstappen clearly was going to win the championship this year, but he has yet wit win one without there being controversy. Perhaps the bigger issue on the day was that after Sainz’s crash the FIA sent out a tractor too soon to recover the Ferrari. The problem was the fact that there were still cars on the track. Eight years after Jules Bianchi died in similar conditions and circumstances at Suzuka.

While there certainly were a lot of problems with the race that needed to be highlighted, it’s also important to highlight the positives. Perhaps the second biggest story from the day has to be Nicolas Latifi. After struggling all season long, and losing his seat for the next year, he needed a good race. And in Japan, he was able to do just that, finishing 9th and rising up to 20th in the Championship. Sergio Perez also overtook Charles Leclerc for second place in the championship, a race that will be interesting to watch to the end. With that, let’s get into the F1 Power Rankings.

How the F1 Power Rankings are decided

If this is your first time here, a quick reminder on how the rankings are compiled:

  • We started the series off with every driver’s points entering ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix. In the first edition, a quarter of their Drivers’ Championship points were calibrated along with the weekly activity.
  • This week we calculated each driver’s weekend performance based on the following:
    • Qualifying results compared to their starting position in the standings.
    • Places gained or lost during the race.
    • Any change of position in the Championship standings.
    • The points scored in the current Grand Prix
    • With any ties determined by the race result

The Top 10

1. Max Verstappen (No Change)

Verstappen is now a Two Time World Champion. It is absolutely deserved and he proved why once again on Sunday. In a shortened race, he managed to still win by nearly 30 seconds. A truly dominant race for Max to top off a dominant season.

2. Sergio Perez (+1)

Perez raced extremely well this weekend even if he was well off the pace of his teammate. He fought hard with Leclerc to the end and though he finished 3rd initially, Leclerc’s penalty moved him up to 2nd. Second place in the Championship over Leclerc by 1 point, but by slightly more in our Power Rankings thanks to besting the Ferrari driver two weeks in a row.

3. Charles Leclerc (-1)

Charles Leclerc fought hard all race but struggled with the tire degradation on the Ferrari towards the end of the race. It was commendable that he was able to stay in front of Perez until the end. He heads to Austin looking to continue his podium streak, now at four, and retake second place from Perez.

4. Carlos Sainz (No Change)

Sainz’s crash was hardly his fault due to the extreme conditions. A mark in what has been quite an unlucky year for the Spaniard. Luckily he was okay, but that result sees him fall significantly behind Leclerc & Perez. George Russell has now claimed 4th in the Championship but is still barely behind Sainz in our rankings by a single point.

5. George Russell (No Change)

The Mercedes struggled again this weekend, while George Russell has a fairly lackluster outing. Russell has shown promise for most of the season but has had two difficult weekends in a row. After his debacle in Singapore, Russell started Suzuka in 8th, got hard done by when Mercedes double-stacked in the pits, and slowly made his way back to finish 8th.

6. Lewis Hamilton (No Change)

Hamilton has shown once again why he is the 7-time World Champion. Though he finished 5th this weekend, it seemed like he would’ve finished higher if the race would’ve gone the full distance. If Mercedes can develop a better car next season they should be challenging for wins in a three-way race. While it won’t show here, Hamilton gained notably on Russell and Sainz this week.

7. Lando Norris (No Change)

Qualifying and finishing tenth is not where Norris wants to be. After a great weekend for McLaren in Singapore, Alpine took the plaudits at Suzuka. Norris retains his spot in 7th based on a strong season, but Ocon more than halved the gap between the two. Who will win out in Austin, Norris’ consistency or Alpine’s reliability?

8. Esteban Ocon (No Change)

Esteban Ocon had an amazing race and ended up finishing 4th after keeping Hamilton at bay the entire time. He has shown time and time again why he is deserving of that seat, and next season when partnered with Pierre Gasely, it will be exciting to see what they can do. Ocon’s top 4 finish helped Alpine take over McLaren in the standings and with a strong outing in Austin he could overtake Norris in the rankings.

9. Sebastian Vettel (+4)

In Vettel’s final season in F1, it was only a matter of time until he had a great race. After difficult days at Zandvoort and Monza, he has shot up our rankings in the past two weeks. With back-to-back finishes in the points, Vettel jumped seven places last week and four after this round. Vettel has said that Japan was his favorite track so it’s only fitting that he would get this result here.

10. Fernando Alonso (+2)

Alonso had a solid race and finished where he started, in 7th place. After a hard battle with Vettel at the end of the race, he ended up finishing just 0.011 seconds behind. Following back-to-back DNFs Alonso will be pleased to have escaped Alpine’s reliability woes at Suzuka.

The Rest of The Field

The bottom 10 all changed positions, with the exception of Lance Stroll who stayed in 11th place. Nicholas Latifi was the biggest gainer this week with his first points finish of the year jumping 4 positions. Pierre Gasly was the last driver to cross the line on Sunday and then was given a 20-second penalty for speeding under the safety car. Ignoring the fact that there was a Recovery Tractor on track it was still the FIA’s opinion that he was driving unsafely and was penalized. I also feel the need to note that Mick Schumacher is the first Haas driver to lead a race, though it was for only less than 2 seconds.

11. Lance Stroll (No Change)

12. Daniel Ricciardo (-3)

13. Pierre Gasly (-3)

14. Yuki Tsunoda (+2)

15. Valtteri Bottas (-1)

16. Nicholas Latifi (+4)

17. Kevin Magnussen (+1)

18. Zhou Guanyu (+1)

19. Mick Schumacher ( -4)

20. Alex Albon (-3)

Who was the biggest surprise in this week’s F1 Power Rankings? Let us know down below.

Featured Image Credit: Clive Rose/Getty Images