Overrated and underrated F1 drivers in 2022

By: Mikey McGuire

There is quite a bit of hype surrounding each and every driver on the grid before the 2022 season, and some drivers deserve that hype more than others. Join me as I break down one driver I think is overrated and another I think is flying under the radar before the season starts.

Overrated: Lando Norris 

I use overrated very loosely when I talk about Lando Norris. I think he is an exceptional F1 driver, and he has a very bright future ahead of him, but some of the hype surrounding the 22-year-old Brit is astonishing. 

Lando came into the F1 grid accompanied by fellow British George Russel and at the time both of them were pegged to be multiple time World Champions. But 3 years on from their rookie season, Lando has not performed well enough for me to believe in that hype anymore. I do think he has at least one World Championship in him for sure, but even that one will be very hard-fought. 

In his rookie season, he showed a lot of promise for a driver so young, a couple of good results taken away by mechanical failures but some wonderful driving overall. He started off his sophomore effort with his first podium in F1 at the first race of 2020 and things were looking really good for Norris. He followed that up with a handful of points finishes for McLaren, but fell into the background as the season went on, finishing 9th in the drivers standings.

His 2021 effort got off to an incredible start, he finished in the points in every race until Hungary where he was taken out on lap one, snapping a 15 race points finish streak going into the 2020 season. Norris collected some very impressive results in the 2021 including 4 podiums and 6th place in the WDC, but in the latter half of the season he really fell off, never finishing higher than 7th after the McLaren 1-2 at Monza.

While his results are impressive, I think he currently lacks the maturity and consistency to fight for a championship. 2022 is going to be a big year for Lando, and he really needs to learn from his mistakes if he wants to live up to the hype, but I just don’t think he will. I hope I am proven wrong, but at the moment Lando Norris is an overrated driver.

Underrated: Valterri Bottas

Valterri Bottas will go down in history as one of the best number two drivers to ever race, but that’s a shame because he had a lot more to prove than being a number two driver. He showed a ton of promise in his early years in the Williams, and played an incredible second fiddle to Lewis Hamilton during his time at Mercedes. 

Except for a couple of times last season, he was always good at doing what he was told for the good of the team and the championship, and that is a very commendable skill in a sport so bogged down by egos. He was a true team player, and I think it is an absolute shame he was never able to truly showcase his considerable talent behind the wheel because of that.

He makes a big move to Alfa Romeo this year and while he will never have machinery as good as he had at Mercedes, he still has every chance to prove himself as a quality driver. If the pack is truly as tight as F1 hopes it will be, Alfa has a very good chance to run the midfield and with a driver as experienced as Bottas, they should have no problem fighting for high points positions. 

Valterri is talented, that is a fact few can dispute, but I feel like a lot of people write him off as a perennial number 2 driver because of his time at Mercedes. He has all the skill in the world to prove himself as a top tier driver, and I think this season will be very good for Valterri Bottas.

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