How the 2022 season played out: F1i's Top 10 Moments

Russell claims maiden victory with Mercedes

George Russell had waited a long time to make it to Mercedes, with a three year apprenticeship at the back of the grid with Williams that even Toto Wolff now admits was one year too long. But finally he graduated - only to find that his arrival at Brackley had coincided with an abrupt collapse in the team's form due to problems with their 2022 car design, resulting in 'porpoising' and high drag.

Instead of vying for race wins with new team mate Lewis Hamilton, Russell spent much of the year doing his best to eke out whatever he could with manifestly sub-standard equipment (in Mercedes terms, that is). Pretty much the same as he'd been doing at Williams for three years, in fact. And this might explain why he was so good at it, while Hamilton - used to having the very best car on the grid - was struggling to make the adjustment in approach.

In the first nine races of the season, Russell was the only driver on the grid to finish within the top five on each occasion earning him the nickname of 'Mr Consistency'. That run came to an end with a first corner incident at Silverstone, but he soon picked up where he left off. And then in Hungary he claimed his maiden F1 pole position starting ahead of both Ferrari drivers, only to be beaten in the race itself by Max Verstappen - and by Hamilton who was now back in the ascendency.

For different reasons, both drivers desperately wanted to end the season with a win. It was Russell who got the chance when he went wheel-to-wheel with Max Verstappen during the Brazil sprint race and came out on top despite the W13's deficiencies. When it came to the race, Hamilton had a brief chance to overtake Russell into the first corner, but held back - perhaps out of respect for his team mate? - who once handed the opportunity, ran with it with the look of a driver used to routinely picking up poles and race wins on a weekly basis. Hamilton held back, probably grinding his teeth, but nonetheless happy to see Russell claim his first Grand Prix win with Hamilton making it a Mercedes 1-2.

The following race (the last of 2022) in Abu Dhabi rather brought Mercedes back down to earth with a bump, but the memory of Brazil will be a big spur to the team's efforts to be back in the running in 2023.