Damon Hill has given his mid-season assessment of the 2022 grid, and revealed which drivers he believes have been the standout performers.
Following the shake-up of the technical regulations for the start of the current campaign, a new pecking order has emerged, along with a fresh opportunity to impress in Formula 1.
Max Verstappen currently leads the Drivers’ Championship by 80 points, and his level of driving has been praised by many.
The Dutchman also tops Formula 1’s Power Rankings over championship rival Charles Leclerc.
Hill believes that the championship form shown by Verstappen and Leclerc has been a strong reflection of their driving standards, and has also praised George Russell’s strong start to his Mercedes career.
“I think you have to say that the guys you normally expect to see at the sharp end, Max and Charles are there,” said Hill on the F1 Nation podcast.
“Carlos [Sainz] is clearly just a notch behind but still able to perform in that Ferrari. Sergio [Perez], again is not the lead man, although he’s had his moments and he still could be an effective driver.
“George Russell has been amazing and consistent as we know. I think George still has a little bit to learn, I’m sure he’d admit that.”
Hill: Hamilton on “another level”
Hill also picked out his other standout performers of the 2022 season, including seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton.
The Mercedes team have endured a tough, below-par season, but improved knowledge and set-ups of their W13 have enabled Hamilton and Russell to regularly challenge for podiums prior to the summer break.
Following strong performances at Silverstone, Paul Ricard and Hungaroring, Hill praised the racecraft of Formula 1’s most successful driver, and picked out other notable performers from the grid.
“I think that Lewis has been unbelievable as well. Once he gets into a race, he gets this other level that kicks in,” added Hill.
“Thinking through the field, Lando [Norris] has had some fantastic performances.
“There have been some good performances by the likes of [Alex] Albon and the likes of Zhou Guanyu as well, and some little sparks there of hope for other drivers.”