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

Unlucky Zhou flips out at Silverstone

When the season got underway, there had been a lot of criticism aimed at Alfa Romeo for opting to give Chinese driver Zhou Guanyu a full-time seat for 2022 in preference to Antonio Giovinazzi, who had been cast out to the Formula E hinterland. Zhou had finished in third place in the previous year's Formula 2 behind Oscar Piastri and Robert Shwartzman, who had looked like being much more promising F1 prospects, and many immediately dismissed Zhou as just another pay driver brought in to balance the books at Hinwil.

Zhou rather upset that impression when he scored a point on his F1 debut in Bahrain. He wouldn't pick up any further points until Canada, when he finished in eighth place right behind his very experienced team mate Valtteri Bottas, but in the meantime he had established himself as a cool, steady and safe pair of hands who kept his nose clean while taking appropriate opportunities wherever they presented themselves.


And then came the British Grand Prix. Zhou had made it through to the final round of qualifying and duly lined up in tenth place on the grid. But within seconds of the lights going out, his whole view of Silverstone had been flipped on its head as he was sent on the wildest ride of his life so far. Heading into the first corner, Zhou had been clipped by George Russell's Mercedes who had himself been hit by Pierre Gasly's AlphaTauri. The Alfa went upside down onto its roll bar and halo, gouging a deep rut in the tarmac before continuing into the gravel trap, where it dug in, took to the air and somersaulted over the tyre barrier to become lodged in the narrow access pathway in front of the catch fence.

It was a horrifying moment and people naturally feared the worst, underlined by the way Russell jumped from the cockpit of his damaged car to sprint over to see if there was anything he could do to help. It took time to extricate Zhou but then they did so he was undeniably shaken but otherwise in one piece thanks to the halo (remember when that was a controversial addition to F1?). The lasting effects may have accounted for why Zhou finished in the top ten only once more all season, but then again it had been an equally fallow spell for Bottas suggesting it was more to do with the pace of development at Alfa during the second half of the season rather than Zhou's confidence.