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Top 200 Drivers of 2022 (Part IV)

by Sean Wrona

E- drivers (50th-26th)

Drivers are listed with their previous year's position or tier in parentheses. Drivers who did not appear on last year's list have NR for Not Ranked.

50. (C-) Erica Enders

Just like for my 2021 list, I have decided to use the bottom two positions in my elite tier for the best drag racer of the year and the best grassroots USAC driver of the year. While I acknowledge both these series may be considered minor leagues, just like last year there were two drivers who delivered such electrifying performances that I had to put them here, and at least the NHRA national series and the three premier USAC championships are the top championships in their discipline and not feeder series for something else, which is why I would rather put these sort of drivers here than Formula 2 or Xfinity stars and so on. Enders won her fifth NHRA Pro Stock championship in 2022 but this year may have been her best year yet as she won a career-best ten wins and finally got her first-ever Winternationals win. She became the first driver to earn double-digit wins in the Pro Stock class since Greg Anderson won 15 races in 2004. In doing so, she also had the most wins for a female driver in one season in any of the three premier NHRA car racing classes. With Brittany Force also winning the NHRA Top Fuel championship, this also marked the first time that women won the majority of the premier NHRA car titles as well. With her fifth championship, she is now tied for third on the all-time Pro Stock champions list with Anderson and Jeg Coughlin, Jr.; if she wins one more she will tie Warren Johnson for second all time and he had a significantly longer career.

49. (C-) Buddy Kofoid

Kofoid had a pretty historic season in the USAC Midget class in 2021, winning 13 of 32 races, the most since the late Rich Vogler won 17 in 1988. This is a bigger deal than I think a lot of people realize. First of all the season ended about a week before he turned 21 years old. By way of comparison, many future NASCAR Cup stars did win the most races in USAC Midget seasons, including Jeff Gordon (9), Tony Stewart (6), Ryan Newman (7), Kasey Kahne (6), Kyle Larson (6), and Christopher Bell (7). None of those drivers even came close to winning as many races as Kofoid, and most of them were in roughly the same age within two years. That's the level of potential we're talking about here. While Kofoid wasn't quite the youngest USAC Midget champion ever (that designation still goes to Cole Whitt, a potential lost NASCAR legend who did extremely well in my stock car teammate model), he does seem to have pretty significant potential for a NASCAR crossover although admittedly the greatest of these drivers (Gordon, Stewart, and Larson) were winning in all three divisions while the two weakest (Kahne and Bell) were like Kofoid basically only winning in midget cars. Nonetheless, Kofoid did make his NASCAR debut in a Kyle Busch Motorsports truck in both 2022 dirt races. At Bristol he was slow, but he had improved with his second start at Knoxville, where he qualified 5th and finished 11th, followed by a 2nd place finish behind two-time ARCA West champion Jesse Love in an ARCA race at Springfield. While his stock car appearances haven't been stellar yet, I kind of expect he'll be a full-time NASCAR truck driver in 2024 regardless (I'm honestly surprised he didn't make the jump for 2023, particularly in a year the truck field is going to be so shallow.) Regardless, this kid seems to be going places and I'm fairly surprised he doesn't seem to be getting Kyle Larson hype yet (although I fully acknowledge he'd probably never be as good a Cup driver as Larson has been.)

48. (72) Jake Hill

Deciding whether to rank Hill or his BTCC West Surrey Racing teammate Colin Turkington was actually a tough decision for me. Hill did rank higher on TouringCarTimes's top 30 as well as the list compiled by the blogger I consulted and he did finish 3rd in the championship while Turkington was 4th, but I was not yet convinced. Turkington beat Hill by a lot of metrics in 2022, scoring 4 natural races led to Hill's 3, beating him in lead shares (3.33-2.67), CRL (3.50-2.46), races with the most laps led (4-3), and poles (3-2), even though Hill had the fastest average speed of all BTCC drivers in 2022 while Turkington only ranked third (although admittedly they ranked very close in speed percentiles with Hill beating Turkington 82.83-80.46%.) They did tie in several categories with 3 wins, 3 TNL, and 5 fastest races, but the only areas Hill actually beat Turkington were lead change record (2-2 vs. 2-3) and fastest laps (5-4.) It really seemed like that was enough to take Turkington higher, but I did eventually change my mind and put Turkington on the top end of the C+ tier and Hill on the bottom end of the E- tier. For one thing, Hill was substantially more consistent and crushed Turkington pretty badly (19-9) in terms of head-to-head teammate records, and he did outscore him by nearly two full races in points despite being disqualified from the season opener at Donington Park after a controversial penalty because one side of his car was too low after contact with another car. Another advantage Hill had is that he won all three of his races at different tracks, while Turkington only won at two individual tracks. The BTCC has three races at each race weekend, where the polesitter starts Race 1 on the pole, the winner of Race 1 starts Race 2 on the pole, and Race 3 inverts the top finishers from Race 2. Both Hiil and Turkington won one reverse grid race and two regular races. However, Turkington's regular wins came back to back in Race 1 and Race 2 at Snetterton, meaning all he needed to do was win Race 2 after starting in the lead based on his Race 1 victory. Additionally, Hill's 3rd place finish in the championship was the best of his career while Turkington has previously won four titles, so he had lower expectations. For all these reasons, I do agree Hill was better, but I definitely think they were closer than a lot of other analysts.

47. (28) António Félix da Costa

da Costa had something of a strange year in that he competed full-time in both Formula E and the WEC LMP2 class, he did win races in both and even won the LMP2 title, but he failed to make an on-track pass for the lead in either series, posted an extremely low teammate rating in his Formula E starts, and was pretty consistently beaten by his teammate Jean-Éric Vergne in FE, a driver who failed to win a race. Considering all that, I wasn't precisely sure how to evaluate da Costa this season. I think his sports car performances were clearly better as he was pretty overwhelmingly the fastest driver in the extremely deep LMP2 class with a speed percentile of 87.14%. He was clearly the leader of his LMP2 championship team, but he also clearly had the fastest car as his F1 reject teammate Will Stevens ranked 2nd in speed. da Costa, Stevens, and their teammate Roberto González did score their only class win in the most important race, the 24 Hours of Le Mans. He also was the TNL at the Spa race and won the pole for the Fuji race before being passed on the opening lap by Sean Gelael, who had below average speed in the LMP2 class this year. The Spa TNL did allow him to rank tied for 2nd in lead shares behind Filipe Albuquerque and he also ranked 2nd in CRL and was the only driver to score two fastest races, but I don't think he was the best driver in the class (he was close though.) In Formula E, da Costa beat Vergne by the staggering margin of 9-3, which was enough for Vergne to be the second-highest rated driver in the series and fourth overall, while da Costa had a negative rating at -.073, which placed him 17th in FE and 63rd overall. However, despite Vergne being way more consistent and finishing 4th in points while da Costa only ranked 8th, da Costa beat him in most other metrics with 1 win to Vergne's 0, 1 TNL to Vergne's 0, 1 lead share to Vergne's 0.33, 1.18 CRL to Vergne's 1.14, and they tied in all the other metrics even though da Costa had the slower average speed. Considering he beat Vergne in nearly all the dominance metrics despite a slower average speed, I ended up rating him higher despite their huge difference in consistency. And tellingly, in their sports car performances, da Costa did win the LMP2 and Le Mans while being the fastest driver in his class. In Vergne's sports car crossovers, he was significantly slower than his co-driver Mikkel Jensen. Okay, that decides it.

46. (NR) Dylan Pereira

Pereira won his first major championship in Porsche Supercup, leading the way with a series-best three wins at F1 support races at Imola, the Red Bull Ring, and Spa. He also competed in the Porsche Carrera Cup Germany simultaneously as did the other three Porsche Supercup championship contenders Larry ten Voorde, Laurin Heinrich, and rookie Bastian Buus. In the Carrera Cup, he won four races but only finished third in the championship; having said that, Porsche Supercup is clearly the more prestigious series and he and Carrera Cup champion Heinrich did tie for seven wins, most between the two tours so I decided to rank Pereira highest. Admittedly, I suspect I may have ranked him too high or the others too low because Pereira was fairly evenly matched with Buus, his Porsche Supercup teammate, who ranked second with two wins even as a rookie and only finished one race's worth of points behind Pereira. However, Pereira might have arguably been the best Carrera Cup driver as well since I suspect he may have had a slower car there. While all the four championship contenders utterly crushed their Porsche Carrera Cup teammates, at least one of ten Voorde, Heinrich, and Buus's teammates finished 11th or better in the championship while Pereira's two teammates Jan-Erik Slooten and Richard Wagner (not to be confused with the composer) finished 20th and 25th in that series. Since his teammates didn't even come close to the other championship contenders' teammates, I suspect Pereira might have been the best driver there as well, but I admit there is a lot I need to learn about these series because even though I think Porsche Supercup is very prestigious as the series has spawned numerous successful sports car and touring car drivers in the pats deecade like Julien Andlauer, Thomas Preining, Matt Campbell, Dennis Olsen, Matteo Cairoli, and most notably Mathieu Jaminet, Earl Bamber, Nicki Thiim, and Kévin Estre, it does not seem to get all that much press despite being an F1 support series. This is definitely one of my blind spots and one I probably need to learn more about.

45. (91) Sergio Pérez

Pérez had his statistically most successful F1 season in 2022 with both his first multi-win season and best finish in the championship (3rd). Although there was obviously no way he was ever going to compete with Max Verstappen, he performed admirably and improved from 2021. After Verstappen had swept both Alex Albon and Pérez in back-to-back years in shared teammate finishes, Pérez at least kept himself from getting swept this time although he still lost 15-3. Nonetheless, Verstappen is still so high rated that Pérez's 2022 season did rank as above average in my model, although his rating of .096 still ranked only 14th among F1 drivers and he had higher ratings every year from 2014-17 and 2019-20. Regardless, I'm still fairly impressed by this since it was difficult for anyone to beat Verstappen at all this season. Admittedly, Pérez's Monaco win only resulted from pit strategy and he won at Singapore primarily because Verstappen ran out of fuel in qualifying, which allowed Pérez to start higher in 2nd while Verstappen was never able to make it back. Having said that, Pérez still needed to pass polesitter Charles Leclerc and he did so, which is to his credit. Pérez ranked 3rd in most statistical categories with 3 natural races led, a 3-2 lead change record (which was actually better than Leclerc's), 2 wins, 1 TNL, ranking 3rd in both lead shares and cumulative races led, and he did beat Carlos Sainz, Jr. in most of these categories even though Sainz had a faster average speed percentile (having said that, I've decided that Sainz was better than Pérez.) Having made 42 overtakes for position and only being passed 20 times, he ranked 6th in passing, but Verstappen, both Ferrari drivers, and both Mercedes drivers outranked him by this metric. Since Russell and Hamilton had slower cars, that meant I had to rank them higher, and I did end up ranking Sainz higher as well because he had the best overtake percentage of any F1 driver, but Pérez was certainly still respectable. I'll admit I never really expected him to win two races in a season and he did it, but I can't imagine the Red Bull cars will be quite this dominant ever again.

44. (2) Kyle Larson

There was no way Larson possibly could have repeated his dominance in 2021 but his 2022 wasn't a championship hangover by any means. Only two drivers have won ten NASCAR Cup races this century, so this really reflected more of a return to form after an unusual outlier year. I personally think in 2021 Larson was intensely motivated to prove himself like few drivers at any time in NASCAR history. He wanted to redeem himself and build back his cred after getting suspended in 2021, but once that was achieved, he probably wasn't nearly as intensely motivated in 2022, which is probably the main reason for his decline. He did still perform at a pretty great level as he had the fastest average speed of all NASCAR Cup drivers in 2022 and he did lead my teammate model briefly entering the chase, although he dropped to third at the end of the season. If I entered head-to-head comparisons based on which driver had the faster race into my model instead of which driver finished better, Larson would have been the highest-rated driver in my model narrowly over Tyler Reddick. Larson's race at Homestead was probably the most dominant win of the season. Weirdly, he wasn't the TNL in that one on a bizarre technicality. His most impressive race of the season probably came at the Coca-Cola 600, where he overcame three pit penalties, a fire in the pits, and a spinout in the first half of the race to lead it in the final stint before Chase Briscoe spun out in a failed divebomb of Larson to take the lead, which ended up costing him the race. He probably would have won at Las Vegas too if Bubba Wallace hadn't intentionally wrecked him. However, he was not blameless as he roughed up his teammate Chase Elliott to win at both Fontana and Watkins Glen. Since he had the fastest car on average, I do think Larson slightly underachieved since he had a negative lead change record and TNL record, ranked 4th in lead shares, and ranked 5th in cumulative races led, but he was still nearly great albeit not otherworldly as he had been in 2021. He also declined somewhat in sprint car racing. Part of the reason I ranked him as high as 2nd last time was because he became the first driver ever to win the three most prestigious sprint and midget car races in a single year 2021: the Chili Bowl, the Kings Royal, and the Knoxville Nationals. In 2022, he entered all those races and didn't win any of them so he also declined in that regard.

43. (41) James Calado

Calado and teammate Alessandro Pier Guidi successfully defended their WEC LMGTE Pro championship, although I think both drivers were better in 2021 than 2022. For one thing, they didn't win Le Mans this time and only had two wins overall instead of three. However, the class was also more competitive this year as five different driver pairings won races and Calado and Pier Guidi were the only team to win twice. Calado also had the best lead change record in the class (3-1) although he only made on an on-track pass for the lead in one race. Most notably, he led the class in cumulative races led with 1.29 although his teammate beat him in lead shares. They won the championship despite seemingly having a speed deficit since Calado had a speed percentile of only 56.11% to Pier Guidi's 45.37%, which is surprising, but that is why I've ranked them a bit lower than you might think, especially since neither of them was even the fastest of the AF Corse Ferrari drivers (Antonio Fuoco was faster than both of them.) Having said that, I do think Calado was clearly the team leader since he was the most dominant driver in the class and made three passes for the lead while Pier Guidi made none so he deserves an elite spot but not an especially high one. In addition to their WEC championship, Calado and Pier Guidi teamed up with Fuoco to win the Gulf 12 Hours.

42. (63) Sébastien Buemi

Buemi and co-drivers Brendon Hartley and Ryō Hirakawa combined to win both the 24 Hours of Le Mans (Buemi's fourth in the last five years) and the WEC Hypercar championship for the dominant Toyota Gazoo Racing team. Buemi was obviously the team leader this year, as he had the highest speed percentile on the team (72.70% to Hartley's 65.33% and Hirakawa's 56.76%.) He was the only driver on his team to also make a pass for the lead, passing Olivier Pla at Spa before a mechanical failure took him out of the race and handed the win to the other Toyota team. He also passed Kamui Kobayashi at Fuji but I didn't count that one since that resulted from a team order. In what was a very boring year for the Hypercar class, there were only six passes for the lead all season, and three of them were team orders amongst the Toyota drivers, so it's a pretty big deal that Buemi managed to make a pass for the lead at all since only one other driver in the Hypercar class did so (Mike Conway made the other two passes, one of them against Buemi at Le Mans, which did not seem to be a team order.) Since he ranked second amongst drivers in the Hypercar class in speed to Conway and also second in passes for the lead to Conway, it seemed pretty obvious that Conway was the best Hypercar driver of the year and Buemi was the second best. As for Buemi's other full-time gig in Formula E, the driver who remains tied for the most wins in FE history despite only scoring one win in the past five seasons actually performed pretty well even though his Nissan e.dams team has rarely been competitive for wins in the last half decade. Despite driving for the team that finished ninth in the Teams' Championship, Buemi still managed to finish 15th in points while his teammate Maximilian Günther was 19th; Buemi outscored him 30 points to 6. In my teammate model, he ranked 6th among FE drivers and 12th overall, even edging out the champion Stoffel Vandoorne by that metric, although the three other FE drivers I rated higher than him did score higher teammate ratings also. It still seems like Buemi could compete for wins there if he had a fast enough car, although he probably wouldn't be the dominant juggernaut he was in the series's early years. After so many winless seasons, Buemi finally left the e.dams team that he had once been so dominant with to join Envision Racing, replacing Robin Frijns as Nick Cassidy's teammate. Considering the speed Cassidy had last year, with Cassidy having a win, two poles, two TNL, and four fastest laps, I would expect Buemi to probably return to victory lane with this team at some point in 2023.

41. (88) Ryan Blaney

Even though Blaney went winless for the first time since 2016 and came dangerously close to missing the playoffs, Blaney had a very impressive season in terms of advanced analytics even if some of his baseline statistics looked worse than those in previous seasons. He ranked in the top three in Ryan McCafferty's TDR model for almost the entire season and finished in third place with a ranking that was barely indistinguishable from Chase Elliott and Joey Logano. For most of the season, this sort of puzzled me because it seemed like his performance was about the same as it had been his entire Penske stint: a 6th-10th place season where he once again delivered consistently solid performances without being a leading championship contender. I failed to see how he had fundamentally improved from his previous seasons for quite some time. One of the issues is that he consistently appeared worse in most of my statistics than Ryan's. I heavily weight things such as on-track passing for the lead and clutch performance, but Blaney seemed to be making most of his passes earlier in the race so he ended up ranking only 12th in lead shares and 6th in cumulative races led. He was never the fastest driver in a race, he had no TNLs, and he never had the most lead shares in a race. It doesn't help that my teammate model has been wildly inaccurate in regards to evaluating Penske drivers in Cup either. To an extent, it seems like what happened is Blaney's performance stayed about the same as it was in other years, but he benefited from the fact that a lot of drivers who outperformed him last year: Denny Hamlin, Kyle Larson, Kevin Harvick, William Byron, Kyle Busch, and Martin Truex, Jr. all declined from their performance last year (although you can debate whether Blaney or Larson were better.) It feels to me more like a lot of other drivers fell than he rose, but I suppose it amounts to the same thing in the end. However, what eventually convinced me that Blaney did in fact merit this placement was not only did he overtake several drivers who were better than him last year, he did so in spite of his long-term championship-winning crew chief Todd Gordon retiring and being replaced by the unproven Jonathan Hassler. Although I personally think Logano and Blaney were much further apart than Ryan did and I'll discuss why in the Logano entry, it is worth noting that Blaney did beat Logano in several statistical metrics. He was slightly faster, ranking 6th in speed to Logano's 7th and was faster than him in 21 of 36 races. He led 13 races naturally to Logano's 10 and also outperformed him in terms of lead change records (21-17 to 23-28.) However, it also seemed like Blaney was far stronger in the first half of a race most weeks while he tended to fade in the second, and that is something I care about a lot. Not only did Logano win the championship while Blaney failed to make the final four (largely due to a self-inflicted spin at Homestead), but Logano beat Blaney by a fairly large margin in almost all my other statistical categories. While he did certainly run better than he finished, which is why I placed him here, he also did legitimately run worse in the latter stages of the race than he did earlier on and it wasn't all bad luck. I think this placement is a good compromise between other analysts ranking Blaney's season extremely highly and my own statistics, which I admit are probably underrating him. To be fair, I do think the Penske cars were somewhat down on speed at most tracks as they combined for only one fastest race and four fastest laps at only three tracks: Daytona, Darlington, and Phoenix (which implies that Penske's sole interest was going for the big paydays rather than trying to win every race, and I'll discuss that more in the Logano entry.) Blaney himself got a big payday in the NASCAR all-star race, the worst race of the season. In that event, he was poised to take the checkered flag but seconds before he did so the officials threw a dubious yellow flag for a spinout and forced the drivers to restart after Blaney had already detached the window net from his car. Thankfully, he still won despite the NASCAR officials' chicanery, but it doesn't really change my opinion of Blaney's season very much in either way.

40. (20) Josh Cook

Josh Cook gets no respect. I admit a lingering affection for the man after a member of the gone but not forgotten Racing Reference comment sections convinced me I should include him on my top 100 drivers list of 2015. While I now think this was a mistake in retrospect, I've certainly continued to pay attention to him and I have to wonder why on earth TouringCarTimes snubbed him from their entire list of the top 30 touring car drivers in 2022. It's not like DTM where the series isn't considered a touring car series anymore so it wasn't considered for the list. The British Touring Car Championship was well-represented and Cook was certainly one of its standout drivers. Although he only finished sixth in the championship, Cook ranked second to the champion Tom Ingram in natural races led, wins, TNL, and lead shares with 5 of each and he also ranked second to Ingram with 4.26 CRL, and 4 races where he led the most laps, but he only ranked fourth in speed so he did outperform his car by most of these metrics in addition to outperforming Jake Hill and Colin Turkington, who both had a faster average speed. It's really puzzling why TCT would leave him off considering all that if they're going to rank Hill in 7th and Turkington in 12th on their list, especially considering they also listed Bobby Thompson, who finished 14th in the championship along with champions of some minor league touring series like the TCR Denmark series, the TCR Scandinavia series, the TCR South American series, and the TCR UK series. The TCR UK champion Chris Smiley is a driver that Cook had raced against in the BTCC and while Smiley did win one reverse-grid race there in 2018, he had a best championship finish of 13th and was overall a mediocre driver. So now he reverts to a more minor-league touring series, wins the championship, and is suddenly better than Cook? It's ridiculous. It would be like saying A.J. Allmendinger was better than Tyler Reddick this year for his Xfinity performances, only I would say that the Xfinity Series is far more prestigious than the TCR UK championship. While I do think Ashley Sutton was better than Cook because he had an even slower car this year, I still ranked Cook 3rd among BTCC drivers this year, which I think is far closer to the truth than arguing that his season was completely worthless because he was inconsistent and finished 6th in the championship. #justiceforjosh (This is the second and last time I will ever make this joke.)

39. (31) Tomoki Nojiri

Nojiri won his second consecutive Super Formula championship in 2022 by a huge margin as he definitely had one of the most consistent seasons in series history. In a field that had 21 cars per race, Nojiri's worst finish was fourth. That's right. He got a top four in every single race and he was one of only three drivers to win twice, along with WEC champion/Le Mans winner Ryō Hirakawa and Nojiri's teammate Ukyo Sasahara. He posted the most consistent season in the series since André Lotterer finished in the top two in every race in 2011, which was also the year of Lotterer's first Le Mans win. Nojiri won the championship by a huge margin with 154 points to Sacha Fenestraz's 89. So why did I rank him this low and lower than I did last year? Several reasons. For one, Nojiri wasn't that much less consistent in 2021 as his worst finish that year was 6th. He's good at grinding out finishes. Additionally, Nojiri won three races out of seven last year and only two out of ten this year. In his Super GT appearances, Nojiri had two wins in 2021 and one win in 2022 and dropped from 2nd to 12th in the championship. And shockingly, he failed to make a pass for the lead in 2021, posting a 0-4 lead change record. Despite that, because he won so many poles (six out of ten), he still led the vast majority of categories in the series by a large margin with 3 TNL (no one else had more than 1), 3 lead shares (no one else had more than 1.2), 3.582 CRL (no one else had more than 1.480), and so on. His dominance was so monstrous that I was willing to overlook his lack of passing; really, his year had a lot in common with Will Power's. Obviously the level of competition in Super Formula is nowhere near the level of IndyCar, but admittedly Nojiri was dominant and Power was not, so I think they were roughly equivalent. Nojiri ranked 4th in my teammate model among Super Formula drivers, but in what was a really weak year for that tour, he only ranked 42nd in my open wheel model overall. Nonetheless, I think his once-in-a-generation level of dominance and consistency speak for themselves despite the fact that his greatly inferior teammate tied him in wins, his passing numbers were weak, and he declined in Super GT also.

38. (34) Cameron Waters

Waters finished a distant 2nd in the Supercars championship to Shane van Gisbergen. In a year when one driver wins 21 of 34 races, every other driver is going to be something of an afterthought, but Waters was still impressive in his own right, ranking 2nd in the majority of categories with 7 TNL, 6.5 lead shares, 5.22 CRL, 7 races having led the most laps, ranking 2nd in speed, and actually leading the series with 10 poles (surprisingly van Gisbergen only ranked 3rd in that category with 7 poles to Waters's 10 and Will Davison's 9.) However, Waters was let down to some extent because he tended to not finish as well as he ran. For him to have between 5-7 lead shares, CRL, TNL, races with the most laps led, and so on, it's extremely disappointing that he only ended up with 3 wins. However, for a guy who had 10 poles and 3 wins, I actually think it's impressive that he only barely had a negative lead change record at 5-6. That indicates that he was burnt on pit strategy a few times, and of course there was also the controversial penalty at Wanneroo where Waters won the race on track but Davison was handed the win after Waters was given a five-second penalty for holding off Davison's attempt to pass him by hitting the curb (or as Aussies call it, the kerb.) Waters was also one of only three drivers to pass van Gisbergen for the lead all season, but believe it or not, I think another Supercars driver besides van Gisbergen was actually better than him.

37. (14) Ashley Sutton

The three-time BTCC champion switched from Laser Tools Racing, an independent operation owned by owner-driver Aiden Moffat to Motorbase Performance, a team that switched from being an independent entry to a constructor entry in 2021. Even though the constructor teams are usually regarded as stronger than the independent teams, I think in this case Sutton's car was much slower and that was primarily reflected in the results of Sutton's teammate Dan Cammish. Cammish was one of England's greatest domestic drivers of the 2010s; he won all 24 of his starts in British Formula Ford in 2013, then switched to the Porsche Carrera Cup Great Britain, where he won 23 out of 32 races in 2015 and 2016, before finally making his BTCC debut in 2018. From 2018 to 2020, Cammish won eight races and was a perennial championship threat before bizarrely losing his ride three races into the 2021 season and returning to Porsche Carrera Cup, where he did win the championship but was nowhere near as dominant. Cammish returned to BTCC for 2022 as Sutton's teammate, but they weren't even close. Cammish only finished 8th in points and had his lowest win total (1) over an entire season this time and Sutton nearly doubled him in points. Sutton, who was almost starting to become a champion-by-default at his previous team, did finish a close 2nd to Tom Ingram in the championship, just nosing out Jake Hill by a single point, and I actually think that's very impressive since considering Cammish's results, I think the cars were very slow and Sutton nearly doubled Cammish in the championship with 382 points to Cammish's 207. I expect I might be underrating him here but I don't always have a good sense of where to rank touring car drivers and I probably won't until I create a touring car model (which I do eventually plan on doing in the same manner as my stock car and open wheel models.) I suspected in previous years I was overrating BTCC drivers to some extent, so I tried to correct for that this year. I don't really think Sutton was that much worse than he was last year and the same thing for Josh Cook, but I also don't think BTCC is quite on the same tier as Supercars either so I tried to account for that this time. Once I finally have a touring car model, I'll have better perspective for how much to weight performance in each series (like how I now know that Formula E drivers are slightly better than IndyCar drivers in general from my model, even though I wasn't sure about that in previous years.) I do think Sutton's consistency was much greater than his dominance in 2022 and that's one reason I downgraded him somewhat: although he had 3 wins to Cammish's 1 and beat him 23-6 in shared finishes, Cammish was actually pretty close in terms of leading and dominance: they tied with 2 TNL (and Cammish was forced to pull over for Sutton at the 2nd Thruxton race; if that happened they'd have looked somewhat closer) and Sutton only beat Cammish 2.33 lead shares to 2, 2.28 CRL to 1.86, although he had a significant speed advantage. It is impressive that Sutton finished 2nd in the championship with only the 5th fastest car, but he ranked 5th or 6th in most core statistical categories and he didn't really outperform the level of his car in terms of dominance, but only in consistency. Cook was barely faster than Sutton but he was substantially more dominant; nonetheless, I did opt for Sutton's consistency and utterly dunking on Cammish over Cook's inconsistency and mid-season mediocrity, but it was definitely close.

36. (NR) Earl Bamber

After numerous sports car successes (especially internationally), Bamber made his debut in the IMSA DPi class for Chip Ganassi's Cadillac Racing in 2022 and had a lowkey impressive year. He was the fastest of the eleven full-time drivers in IMSA's premier class and only trailed Kevin Magnussen and Scott Dixon in speed among all drivers. He had a speed percentile of 76.96% while his three teammates Renger van der Zande (75.89%), Sébastien Bourdais (53.48%), and Alex Lynn (38.96%) were slower, the latter two significantly. The van der Zande/Bourdais car stole most of the highlights for Ganassi's IMSA team in 2022 and I think I know why. Lynn, who was the second slowest of the 11 regulars, was so slow he was letting Bamber down while van der Zande and Bourdais were fast enough to pile up three victories and a lot more objective stats. Regardless, Bamber and van der Zande tied with a 2-0 lead change record and Bamber beat van der Zande with 2 TNL to van der Zande's 1 (Bourdais was doing most of the passing for the other car.) Bamber also tied van der Zande and Tom Blomqvist for the most fastest races. Having said that, Bourdais did post more dominant results in terms of TNL, passing, and CRL than Bamber in a car that was slower. So why did I choose Bamber instead? I think firstly because he had vastly less experience in the class and was substantially faster, I think Lynn was an anchor who cost Bamber results, and also Bamber got a marquee race win at the 12 Hours of Sebring, where he was the fastest driver while Lynn only ranked at 30% in speed percentile for that race. One can easily argue the 24 Hours of Daytona and 12 Hours of Sebring are bigger than the season and it doesn't matter as much that Bourdais and Filipe Albuquerque won all those minor races. Bamber was also fastest at the Petit Le Mans and it's pretty rare for somebody to post the fastest average speed at two of the three marquee races in the same season. As I wrote this, I was starting to doubt my placement of him but reminding myself that he was the fastest driver in two of the three marquee races and very fast at Daytona as well, his placement is secure.

35. (NR) Adrien Tambay

The son of two-time Can-Am champion and two-time Formula One winner Patrick Tambay, who sadly died last month, Adrien won the FIA ETCR championship for electric touring cars and he was exceptionally consistent in so doing so, earning a win, four 2nd places, and a fourth in six starts. You could argue the field was shallow since it only had twelve cars, but it was almost entirely comprised of sports car and touring car legends and I actually think despite the small field size, this was still one of the most prestigious touring car championships this year and overtook the World Touring Car Cup to become the most prestigious international touring car championship (however, that doesn't mean I think Tambay had a better season than Mikel Azcona.) Tambay's competitors included DTM champions Mattias Ekström and Bruno Spengler, this year's IMSA DPi champion Tom Blomqvist, WTCR champions Azcona and Norbert Michelisz, and TCR International Series champion (and ex-Indy Lights champion who never made an IndyCar start) Jean-Karl Vernay, so the championship was very strongly contested. What I will say is that besides Azcona and Blomqvist, most of these drivers are not as good as they were years in the past though. Still, if I'm going to rank Azcona and Blomqvist higher (as I did) I shouldn't rank Tambay too far behind. Considering the number of championships Tambay's competitors have won, his championship was pretty shocking actually. You can make the case that he had never won any kind of major league race prior to 2022 depending on whether or not you consider the 2011 and 2012 Grands Prix électrique major league or not, but I think I wouldn't. In five DTM seasons, he never finished better than 10th in the championship, usually lost to his teammates in points, and finished last among full-timers in the 2015 championship. I don't think he has ever had a year prior to this that would even be remotely worthy of consideration for a top 200 list, but he certainly got it done this year.

34. (74) Felipe Fraga

The 2016 Stock Car Brasil champion was electrifying in both DTM (the German GT series) as well as the IMSA LMP3 class. He failed to win both championships because he was probably the unluckiest DTM driver of the year (finishing only 16th in points despite running way, way, way better than that) and he failed to enter the IMSA race at Mosport, which relegated him to 7th in that championship. However, despite all that, Fraga put up insane numbers in both series. I realize the IMSA LMP3 class is something of an amateur class, although there were certainly a number of pros competing there including the champion Colin Braun, 2010s IMSA legend João Barbosa and Indy Lights champion/IndyCar ROTY Gabby Chaves. However, even though a lot of the other competitors were not that good, Fraga's numbers were so eye-popping - so intimidating - the level of competition hardly matters. In six starts, he had four natural races led, a 5-0 lead change record (best in any IMSA class), 3 wins, 2 TNL, 1.9 lead shares, 1.46 cumulative races led, 2 races where he led the most laps, 3 fastest laps, 4 fastest races, a speed percentile of 96.79% (highest in any IMSA class.) Except for poles, he led in every single category. Fraga particularly elevated himself in the biggest races as he and co-drivers Kay van Berlo, Gar Robinson, and Michael Cooper won their class in the 24 Hours of Daytona, where Fraga posted the fastest average speed. He also won the 6 Hours of Watkins Glen and although he did not win the Petit Le Mans, he was probably the best driver in the race as he posted the fastest average speed there as well and made the last two passes for the lead before losing the race on a series of pit cycles. He's too good for that class but is still stuck there again for 2023. In DTM, Fraga was also very impressive as despite finishing 16th in the championship, he tied the champion Sheldon van der Linde with 3 natural races led, a lead change record of 2-0, 3 TNL, 3 lead shares, and narrowly beat him 1.89-1.85 in CRL (although both of them trailed Nick Cassidy, who led the category.) Fraga managed to do all that with a rather slow car that ranked in 9th in speed, but his performances were erratic as he tended to overdrive there and he also had miserable luck, especially when Mirko Bortolotti spun him out of the lead at the Nürburgring. Like Tyler Reddick, I docked him for the lack of consistency (particularly in his DTM starts), but his leading in lead shares in two different series on two different continents seems to indicate that Fraga will soon mature into a truly elite driver and he's still only 27.

33. (C) Stoffel Vandoorne

Although Vandoorne did win the Formula E championship, I don't think you can really make a case that he was the best driver in the series, much like Will Power in IndyCar. Like Power, Vandoorne won his title exclusively through raw consistency despite winning only one race while Mitch Evans and Edoardo Mortara each won four and Vandoorne's own teammate Nyck de Vries, the defending champion, won two races and beat him in several other statistical categories. Vandoorne in fact led in no statistical categories other than actual points except for tying Mortara, Jake Dennis, Nick Cassidy, António Félix da Costa, and Jean-Éric Vergne for the most poles with two. Evans led most categories with 4 natural races led (tied with Mortara for the most), a 5-2 lead change record, 4 wins (tied with Mortara), 4 TNL, 4 fastest races, and the highest speed percentile (82.79%, just barely nosing out Vandoorne's 82.27%, although admittedly you can make a case Vandoorne was better because de Vries had a slower speed percentile than Evans's teammate Sam Bird but de Vries was obviously better than Bird this year.) Meanwhile, Mortara led in lead shares, cumulative races led, races with the most laps led, and Cassidy and Lucas di Grassi tied with the most fastest laps. Sérgio Sette Camara led my teammate model thanks to nearly sweeping Antonio Giovinazzi. Vandoorne wasn't bad in most of these categories, mind you. He ranked 3rd in natural races led, 6th in lead shares, 6th in CRL, 2nd in fastest races, 2nd in fastest speed, and 7th in my teammate model, but it's not the kind of season you could really argue was the best unless you really, really value consistency more than I do. To Vandoorne's credit, he got a top ten and scored points in every race but one while no other driver had fewer than four non-points-scoring races. He also had only three races outside the top five, which is remarkable, so I shouldn't list him too low. Having said that, there's even a question whether Vandoorne or de Vries was better. Although Vandoorne led 3 races naturally to de Vries's 1, de Vries had a much stronger lead change record (2-1 vs. 2-4), won 2 races to de Vries's 1, ranked 3rd in CRL while Vandoorne was 6th (although Vandoorne did beat de Vries in lead shares), and de Vries had a substantially slower average speed. Not to mention that de Vries made his successful F1 debut and propelled himself into a full-time F1 ride, which if you think about it is really kind of odd considering de Vries only finished 9th in the FE standings (even though he was the champion the year before) while Vandoorne won the title. Because I grew up primarily a NASCAR fan when I was a kid, things like Jeff Gordon losing the title in 1996 made me well aware that the best driver does not always win the title, and even in a series that has a good points system like Formula E, that remains true. I certainly don't think Vandoorne was as far off from the best drivers as Terry Labonte was from Gordon, but I also think he was only the 4th best FE driver of the year, while I would probably rank Terry 3rd that year. Vandoorne had a great season, but championship or not, it wasn't the best. For more of that, stay tuned.

32. (C) Will Power

On the surface, Power significantly bounced back from a 2021 season that was by far his worst Penske-era IndyCar season as he managed to win his second IndyCar title despite clearly and unquestionably being the worst driver on his team. While Josef Newgarden has been better than Power pretty much the entire time since he started at Penske (except for the Indy 500 where Power had the edge), in 2022 Power was overtaken by Scott McLaughlin as well. Although he remains the fastest IndyCar driver in qualifying sessions and his pole at Laguna Seca gave him five poles for the season and 68 career poles (breaking Mario Andretti's all-time record), he has significantly declined in race speed over the past couple years. By almost any statistical category other than poles and actual championship points, Newgarden and McLaughlin both drastically outperformed him. Both of the Bus Bros had 4 natural races led to Power's 2. Newgarden had a 6-2 lead change record to McLaughlin's 3-4 and Power's 2-6. Newgarden had 5 wins to McLaughlin's 3 and Power's 1. Newgarden had 4 TNL to McLaughlin's 3 and Power's 1. McLaughlin ranked 2nd in lead shares and led in cumulative races led while Newgarden ranked 3rd in lead shares and 2nd in CRL. Power ranked only 6th in lead shares and although he did rank 3rd in CRL, he still trailed both of his teammates. McLaughlin and Newgarden also beat him in races having led the most laps, fastest races, and average speed (Newgarden was the fastest driver in 2022 while McLaughlin was 4th and Power was 7th; Power was even behind Felix Rosenqvist.) About the only things Power had to distinguish himself in 2022 were his qualifying dominance and his consistency in a year almost no one else was consistent. I realize this was an intentional strategy on Power's part. As he had had so many seasons with blinding speed in the past where he crashed himself out of the championship, he intentionally adopted a conservative driving style to challenge for the title. I'm not going to dock him too much for that because he did close the deal (unlike for instance Juan Pablo Montoya in 2015) but he was rarely awe-inspiring like he was in the first half of the 2010s. Admittedly, there was one noteworthy exception. At the final race at Belle Isle, Power may have driven the most remarkable race in his career. Although he significantly benefited from having the superior tire strategy, he drove from 16th to take the lead from polesitter Newgarden in 14 laps and then controlled the rest of the race. Although I think that was pretty clearly the best race Power ever drove, very few people saw it because the NASCAR Cup race at Gateway aired simultaneously. But one race does not a season race and far too often, Power (and Scott Dixon as well) looked like recent Kevin Harvick in that they maintained their consistency while starting to lose the ability to dominate. Power still led a lot because he kept winning poles, but he finished worse than he started more often than not and seemed far too reliant on consistency and luck when the faster drivers didn't have it. I do think Power still had a low-level great season as he did tie for his most podiums ever with nine, finished on the lead lap in every race, and had his best average finish, but in terms of the more important statistics, Newgarden and McLaughlin were consistently better. Consider this a makeup for 2011 (Power's best season) where he won a career-high six races while both of his teammates Ryan Briscoe and Hélio Castroneves went winless. While Power's championship chokes in 2010 and 2012 were all his fault because he made unforced errors to crash in both season finales, the 2011 loss was not as he got wrecked in the pits by Ana Beatriz while he was running away with the race. Power did not really deserve the championship in 2022 and I don't think he'll ever really contend for one again, but he probably does deserve two titles for his overall career (unlike his NASCAR teammate Joey Logano, whose two titles are far more questionable for the level of his success.)

31. (C-) Tom Blomqvist

I grouped Stoffel Vandoorne, Will Power, and Blomqvist all together on this list because each of them won major championships in 2022 and had one truly impressive win each but in all three cases, it was hard to ignore that several drivers were more dominant than all of them and it seemed like they were carried more by consistency and luck than raw speed. I ordered them Blomqvist > Power > Vandoorne because that is the reverse of their speed rankings and because Blomqvist and Power had one truly amazing career highlight caliber race while Vandoorne's win was not exactly on that level. Blomqvist, the son of former World Rally Champion Stig Blomqvist, started his full time IMSA DPi campaign with a bang by winning the 24 Hours of Daytona and he was clearly the center of the team, making three passes for the lead at the Rolex against Alexander Rossi, Tristan Nunez, and Ricky Taylor (the final pass of the race.) He did this despite not being one of the fastest in speed in the race, with a relatively mediocre speed percentile of 61.54 (and his teammate Hélio Castroneves was actually faster, but Blomqvist was the better passer.) Nonetheless, he did all that despite never having driven at Daytona before. The last true rookie to win the 24 Hours of Daytona overall was Kamui Kobayashi in 2019, but he was already viewed as one of the best sports car drivers in the world and he had a reputation that Blomqvist didn't really have until 2022. It was definitely an amazing race, but the rest of his season wasn't. Outside of the Daytona race, Blomqvist led only one of the remaining nine races naturally, had a 1-4 lead change record, 1 win, and 0 TNL. For the season, he only ranked 5th in lead shares and 7th in CRL, although he did certainly have bursts of speed in his faster races, as he had three poles, three fastest laps (most in the series), and two fastest races (tied for the most.) His speed percentile of 62.61% was pretty mediocre for a champion, but he did utterly dominate his co-driver Oliver Jarvis, whose speed percentile was 43.46%. Blomqvist did have a major accomplishment outside of sports cars in 2022 as he also won an ETCR race at Sachsenring to end the season. I do think he was overachieving in weak equipment to a degree because the Shank team had only won six races prior to 2022 in over a decade of continuous Prototype competition prior to that but it does seem weird that he would be so dominant a passer in the 24 Hours of Daytona and so mediocre on the rest of the schedule, even when he was faster in some of those other races. However, this is kind of a historical trend for Blomqvist as in 2021, he was a full-time driver in the WEC LMP2 class with an 0-2 lead change record despite being very fast and winning two poles there. Although he did win the championship in a Meyer Shank car that I don't think was the best, I admit that there was another IMSA Prototype driver who impressed me more.

30. (C) Tyler Reddick

After his breakout performance in the 2021 Charlotte roval race where Reddick set the fastest average race speed and waged a furious battle against Kyle Larson at the height of his dominance, most NASCAR fans expected that he would probably be both the next first-time winner and the breakout Cup driver of 2022, especially because he was one of the most frequent test drivers for the new Gen-7 car. It was thus a bit surprising when five other drivers (Bubba Wallace, Austin Cindric, Chase Briscoe, Ross Chastain, and Daniel Suárez) managed to beat him to the punch. The tone of Reddick's season was set immediately in the preseason Busch Light Clash at the Los Angeles Coliseum where he was running away with the race until a drivetrain failure while leading took him out. While other NASCAR drivers were unluckier in 2022, no one else seemed to be as unlucky while in the lead. Reddick's first dominant race at Fontana resulted in a blown tire. Even that might not have taken him out had William Byron not misjudged the corner and sideswiped him while he was running off the pace. After that, he scored his first TNL at the Bristol dirt race before Chase Briscoe spun him out, taking out both and giving Kyle Busch the win. Reddick won a lot of fans after the event when he didn't get angry and accepted the defeat when a lot of drivers wouldn't, even blaming himself for not building enough of a lead. He also had a tire failure while battling for the lead at Atlanta and ran out of fuel while leading on the last lap of stage 2 at Talladega. Despite all that, Reddick did eventually live up to the preseason hype although he remained inconsistent the entire season. Some of it was his fault as he still had the tendency to overdrive and had a string of unforced errors in the first half of the season, but he mostly cleaned those up in the second half despite his bad luck continuing; he also was inexplicably slow at paved short tracks all season despite his Clash performance. Reddick drastically outran Austin Dillon, posting a faster average speed in 28 of 36 races, but Dillon's great luck and Reddick's bad luck made their finishes look a lot closer than their actual performance. After I introduced my stock car model at the end of 2021, one of the longest running gags on the auto racing Discord where I post is how Dillon ended up beating Reddick in their head-to-head results among shared finishes 12-11, thereby proving the futility of a results-based rather than a performance-based model. My response to that is simply that while I do think my model will average out for most drivers over the long run, a year isn't nearly enough to qualify as the long run. However, it remained bizarre that Reddick could outperform Dillon that much and still lose the teammate head-to-head, one of the weirdest trends of the year. That meant Reddick only ranked 26th in my teammate model for 2022 and posted a negative rating, but that certainly doesn't reflect how he ran. He was lowkey amazing. Despite only ranking 9th in average speed, Reddick led the Cup Series in a lot of categories. He led the way with 3.665 lead shares, beating 2nd place Joey Logano by nearly an entire lead share. He also had four TNL (tying Christopher Bell and Chase Elliott for the most, but Reddick was only the last driver passed once, while Bell was twice and Elliott was four times), five races with the fastest average speed (tying Elliott and Kyle Busch for the most), and five races with the most lead shares. Reddick of course greatly benefited from the two road course races he won at Charlotte and Indianapolis; since he was the only driver to make a pass for the lead in both races, he got an entire lead share from both. However, the fact that he also led the series in races with the most lead shares indicates that he arguably was the best passer for the lead in the series in general despite only having the 9th fastest car. His dominance was spread around amongst a wide variety of tracks also, as his three other races with the most lead shares were at Bristol in the dirt race, Texas, and the summer Daytona race. Reddick was capable of showing blinding dominance pretty much everywhere except the short tracks, but his bad luck and cartoon anvils tended to mask that. Although he wasn't the most dominant driver of the year, ranking only 3rd in cumulative races led, he still vastly overachieved the speed of his car. He may have gotten eliminated in the first round of the NASCAR playoffs, but he was still the second-best amongst the many breakouts to NASCAR stardom in the 2022 season. Midway through the year immediately after his Road America win, Reddick announced he would be moving to 23XI Racing; after Kurt Busch's retirement from full-time competition, he will be taking over the #45 car in 2023. Some people scoffed and I can see why: Reddick did have a faster average speed than both Kurt Busch and Bubba Wallace in 2022, but I believe that is mostly due to Reddick himself and not the cars. The 23XI cars seemed to be faster, especially considering Bubba Wallace had the best season of his career and Austin Dillon had an actually very weak one. Reddick became the first Richard Childress Racing driver to lead in lead shares since Dale Earnhardt in 1993 and the first RCR driver to rank as high as 3rd in cumulative races led since Earnhardt in 1995; from a leading perspective, Reddick's season was better than any even Kevin Harvick had there. If I determined the teammate head-to-heads based on fastest races instead of finishes, Reddick would have ranked a close 2nd behind only Kyle Larson. He also won an Xfinity race for Scott Borchetta's fledgling Big Machine Racing; although I don't normally praise Cup drivers for winning Xfinity races, this is not a good team as it has only led 9 laps and had a best finish of 5th without Reddick, even when Ross Chastain was in the car. This actually seems like the beginning of a legendary ascent and even though Reddick got a lot of hype, it seems like he is still significantly underhyped. If he ever gains consistency, he will be a lethal championship threat.

29. (32) Thierry Neuville

Neuville and his Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT teammate Ott Tänak had very similar seasons in 2022, but Tänak beat Neuville slightly in every single category with three wins to Tänak's two, 41 stage wins to 35, and 205 points to Neuville's 193, and leading 6-5 in their head-to-head teammate record, so while I have placed them very close, I have rated Tänak. I'm always so inept at trying to talk about rallying because I've never been able to afford the kind of premium cable channels that televise it so it's hard or me to say a lot about it, and a lot of the statistics I normally use obviously wouldn't work since things like passing and lap times are only really relevant in a circuit racing environment, so I always feel like I'm out of my depth even talking about it, but at least I think the placements are right.

28. (NR) Sheldon van der Linde

The younger brother of Kelvin van der Linde, who was one of the leading contenders for the 2021 DTM title before he crashed Liam Lawson out in the finale and was penalized for it, allowing Maximilian Götz to back into the title; this year, Kelvin had a mediocre season and finished 9th in the championship while his brother Sheldon came to the fore and won the title. He was the only driver to win three DTM races. In most of the other statistical categories, he was tied with Felipe Fraga with 3 natural races led, a 2-0 lead change record, 3 TNL, 3 lead shares, and 1.85 CRL to Fraga's 1.89. However, unlike Fraga, van der Linde was very consistent winning the title while Fraga only finished 16th. van der Linde led the way with four fastest races even though he only ranked 3rd in average speed behind René Rast and Mirko Bortolotti, both of whom I think underachieved given the speed of their cars. He did certainly get very lucky at the first Nürburgring race when he inherited the lead after Fraga and Bortolotti crashed, but his other two wins were dominant as he passed Lucas Auer on the opening lap of the race of the first Lausitzring race and controlled the second from start-to-finish. Most impressively, he did all this when his teammate Philipp Eng finished only 14th in points and failed to earn a podium.

27. (38) Chaz Mostert

Although Cameron Waters finished 2nd in Supercars to Shane van Gisbergen in the championship and most other statistical categories, I think Mostert was actually the second best driver in the series. Although he had a slower car than Waters, with Waters posting a speed percentile of 78.56% (ranking 2nd) and Mostert posting a speed prcentile of 75.02% (5th), Mostert won more races, claiming five victories to Waters's three. Most notably, even though Waters had 7 natural races led to Mostert's 3, Mostert had an undefeated lead change record at 5-0 while Waters had a losing record at 5-6. Admittedly, it's easier for a driver like Mostert who never won a pole to have a better lead change record than Waters, who won ten poles. However, there is still a large difference between going undefeated and having a losing record in terms of lead change record, which seems to indicate that while Waters was substantially faster in qualifying, Mostert was actually better in the race. Other statistics back this up. Mostert had one fastest lap to Waters's zero and four fastest races to Waters's three; even though he had a slower car he ranked either 1st or 2nd in most passing categories and usually beat Waters. On the flip side, Waters certainly had more relevant races than Mostert while Mostert's greater performances happened over a smaller number of races. Waters did beat Mostert badly in terms of TNL (7-3), lead shares (6.5-2.6), and CRL (5.22-2.54) so you could make a case for him, but a lot of that stems directly from his qualifying prowess, and I prefer to rank a driver who moved through the field over a driver who coasted on his qualifying prowess and kept getting passed. It's definitely close though.

26. (77) Ott Tänak

You can just copy everything I said in the Thierry Neuville entry right here. I always embarrass myself attempting to analyze rally racing like I said but I know I need to include it if I'm going to compile an accurate list.

E drivers (25th-1st)

25. (NR) Scott McLaughlin

When McLaughlin announced his switch from Supercars to IndyCar, I initially had higher expectations. When you considered that McLaughlin was driving a full-time season for Penske and Romain Grosjean was driving a part-time season for Dale Coyne, I assumed McLaughlin would run away with the IndyCar Rookie of the Year award, especially because McLaughlin had been one of the best drivers of the year in Supercars while Grosjean had never been anywhere near one of the best drivers in the world in F1. However, despite driving a slower car, Grosjean drastically outperformed McLaughlin in the races and I ended up being pretty unimpressed by McLaughlin's season. When he ended up winning the ROTY over Grosjean, I actually thought it was an injustice. Well, scratch that. While McLaughlin was clearly one of the best touring car drivers in the world in the 2010s, he had minimal experience in open wheel cars, which meant he would obviously have a learning curve, so of course it would be quicker for Grosjean to adapt. But in 2022, McLaughlin proved what Robert Wickens proved before him in 2018: a good touring car driver is easily qualified to be a winner in IndyCar (although Wickens was unable to win and McLaughlin was a far better touring car driver than Wickens was. After Simon Pagenaud left the Penske team, McLaughlin inherited a lot of Pagenaud's personnel including his engineer Ben Bretzman who had dominated the 2016 IndyCar championship with him. McLaughlin and Bretzman clicked immediately and McLaughlin was now an instant championship contender. His year started out with a bang with an essentially flag-to-flag win at St. Petersburg before his teammate Josef Newgarden passed him for the win on the last lap at Texas. He seemed to fade from the limelight with a string of mediocre runs for most of the first half of the season, but really caught fire starting at Mid-Ohio, where he admittedly got lucky in winning a pit strategy boondoggle because his team timed a pit stop immediately before a caution. McLaughlin ended his season by reeling off six consecutive finishes of 6th or better including another race at Portland that he essentially controlled from start-to-finish. The only thing that really kept him out of the championship battle was a crash at Indy; since that was a double points race that hurt him severely and he was never able to catch up again. However, for his second full year in professional open wheel racing, he was pretty amazing. Not only was he consistently faster than his teammate Will Power (who won the championship), he ranked 2nd in lead shares, 1st in cumulative races led, was tied with Newgarden for the most races with the most laps led (4), second in poles to Power with 3, and 4th in speed. Unlike a lot of other drivers, he adapted really quickly to the ovals too. While he hasn't won one yet, he did finish 2nd at Texas and 3rd in the second Iowa race and at Gateway. Considering that drivers who entered the season expecting to be major championship contenders like Colton Herta were miserably slow on the ovals, it's impressive that McLaughlin was this fast on his second year on them. McLaughlin also ranked 2nd among IndyCar drivers in my teammate model. Admittedly, that was more because he was so far behind Newgarden and Power entering the year that even coming close to them (which he did; all three drivers were pretty much tied in teammate head-to-heads this year) would give him a higher rating than them. His ascent in the IndyCar model was very similar to Christopher Bell's in the NASCAR model for these reasons: both started the year average in my models and finished it well above, but McLaughlin had way more substance than Bell. I guess it makes sense that he ended up being better than Grosjean in the long run. After all, he was already one of the best drivers in the world prior to this while Grosjean never was. When I go back and review some of McLaughlin's Supercars-era seasons, I'm pretty sure I'm gonna rank some of them in the top five. Although his Bus Bros cohost Newgarden has pretty much controlled the Penske team the entire time he has been there, the trajectory of McLaughlin's ascent means that I think he's going to be the dominant force in IndyCar in 2023, overtaking Newgarden as the team leader and winning the championship. We'll see if I'm right.

24. (79) Mike Conway

I ranked Conway as the greatest of the WEC Hypercar drivers in 2022, although I do think a couple other drivers who made WEC starts in other classes were better. Although Conway and his teammates Kamui Kobayashi and José María López essentially finished 3rd in a three car field and didn't win Le Mans, that is hardly Conway's fault. As I mentioned in the López entry, the main reason they lost the title comes down to López's unforced crash in the season-opener at Sebring, which the team never really recovered from. However, Conway himself was performing at the highest level and I ranked him as the best driver in the class for two main reasons. First of all, he made two of the three on-track passes for the lead in what was an extremely dull year for the class. That allowed him to be the only driver with 2 natural races led, 2 TNL, and he led the series with 1.67 lead shares as well, although Kobayashi and Brenton Hartley were both more dominant than him in terms of cumulative races led. Secondly, Conway led all drivers in the class with a speed percentile of 79.49%. Admittedly, his main advantage here was that he had a greater consistency in speed while most of his teammates had higher peaks, as he failed to lead the most laps in a race, had no poles, no fastest laps, and most fastest races, so he definitely didn't have the most dominant performances in 2022. However, his advantages in terms of both passing and speed were so large that doesn't matter. He was clearly the best driver in the class and López really let him down. In addition to Conway passing Andre Negrão to win at Spa, he also made the only pass for the lead in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and was the TNL there. In that race he passed Sébastien Buemi (who drove the other Toyota entry) shortly before the eight hour mark. While the two Toyotas traded the lead several times via team orders, I listened to the broadcast at that point and apparently that pass was not a team order but a genuine fight for the lead. It didn't matter because Buemi's team ended up winning in the pits later, but Conway definitely deserved better all season.

23. (25) Carlos Sainz, Jr.

While in 2021 I think most observers were significantly overrating Sainz simply because he beat his Ferrari teammate Charles Leclerc in the championship (even though Leclerc outran him by almost all metrics by a considerable margin), this year I think Sainz was significantly underrated. Yes, Leclerc was better; Leclerc is better; Leclerc probably always will be better. However, there were a lot of impressive elements to Sainz's season that have been overlooked. For one, Sainz only barely lost to Leclerc in terms of average race speed in 2022, with a speed percentile of 85.96% to Leclerc's 87.18%. Yes, Leclerc was obviously still better as he had 10 faster races to Sainz's 8 and 7 fastest races to Sainz's 1 at Montreal, but that's still probably closer than you thought they were. Furthermore, did you realize Sainz was actually the best overtaker of the year? It is true. Sainz had a 61-7 passing record in 2022, better than any F1 driver that year. Leclerc's record was only 56-21, while Max Verstappen's was 57-12. I imagine the reason for that is that Verstappen and Leclerc were both passing each other a lot while Sainz usually wasn't racing them and was the best of the rest in terms of speed, but this is certainly a distinction worth noting, particularly when people still say that Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel had a better season than him, which to me seems indefensible. Although Sainz did finish lower in the championship than two drivers who were slower (Sergio Pérez and George Russell), I think Pérez had a faster car and probably underachieved with it more considering Verstappen's dominance, while Russell I obviously rated higher. Surprisingly, Leclerc and Sainz ended up tying in their head-to-head teammate record at 7-7 (although I'm well aware Leclerc was unluckier, I do think to some extent both of them were unlucky because Ferrari had horrible strategy all year.) Since Sainz was rated far below Leclerc in my teammate model, that meant he did significantly better in this year's model (with apologies to Elvis Costello.) Sainz ranked 10th globally in my 2022 teammate model and 5th among F1 drivers. And he did finally get his first career win at Silverstone in a hard-fought battle where he had to pass both Verstappen and Leclerc to win, which is not something Pérez had to do in either of his wins. Is he a future champion? No, but I do think he was one of the most over-criticized drivers of the year. Not being as good as Charles Leclerc doesn't necessarily make you bad!

22. (10) Pato O'Ward

I really thought O'Ward would be Josef Newgarden's primary championship challenger in the 2022 IndyCar season and that never really came to fruition. Although he did rank 2nd in the championship very briefly after his 2nd place finish in the Indy 500, he spent most of the season between 5th-7th, eventually fading to 7th a year after he finished 3rd in points. His teammate Felix Rosenqvist did considerably better than he did in 2021 as well, improving from 21st to 8th in the championship and winning two poles. So why did I still rank him 2nd highest among IndyCar drivers and only drop him a relatively small amount on the overall list? Because I don't think his performance actually declined all that much even though his results did. Much like his ex-Indy Lights teammate, Colton Herta, O'Ward ran far better than his championship result indicated, but unlike Herta, his issues seemed to come down to more bad luck as opposed to Herta's greater tendency towards self-inflicted errors. O'Ward was the only IndyCar driver to lead five races naturally and he ranked in the top five in almost every statistical category. With two wins at Barber and Iowa, he ranked tied for 3rd in wins with Scott Dixon (but he ran way better than Dixon even though Dixon finished better), tied for 4th in TNL, 4th in lead shares, 7th in CRL, 2nd in speed, and tied for 2nd in the number of fastest races. Normally I dock drivers for ranking higher in speed than in most of these other categories (as I did for both Christopher Bell and William Byron), but I will not be doing so this time. Even thouh O'Ward ranked 2nd in speed, I'm pretty sure he didn't actually have the 2nd fastest car as it was pretty obvious that the Penske cars were fastest throughout the season and the Ganassi cars were fastest at Indy. O'Ward only barely trailed Newgarden in speed percentile (79.49%-78.71%) which is enough evidence that he was still punching above his weight. The only thing that gives me pause is the fact that Rosenqvist won two poles and somehow ranked 6th in speed himself (even beating Will Power, which is one of the most shocking statistics of the year.) Regardless, that is not all O'Ward has in his favor. In my teammate model, O'Ward was the highest-rated IndyCar driver for the first time; posting a rating of .309 and ranking 8th among all open wheel drivers, he was the only IndyCar driver to even make the top 15 this year, as Scott McLaughlin, the 2nd highest rated driver, only had a rating of .232. Even though it seemed like O'Ward beat Rosenqvist substantially worse in 2021 than in 2022, that might actually be debatable. O'Ward beat Rosenqvist 7-3 in 2021 and 8-4 in 2022, a barely negligible difference even though Rosenqvist ran way better in 2022 than he did in 2021. To be fair, O'Ward's rating was higher in 2021 (.370) but that year he trailed Newgarden and Herta while this year he trailed no one. In addition to his IndyCar success, O'Ward also gets some bonus points for winning the LMP2 class at the 24 Hours of Daytona along with Herta, Eric Lux, and Devlin DeFrancesco, but Herta was clearly the linchpin of that team and he posted a faster average speed than O'Ward did. Even though people are going to look in the record books and think that O'Ward's season was a disappointment despite his wins, I actually don't think it was and he continues to elevate a McLaren team that seems to be unstable and offering unreliable equipment that frequently lets him down. It's pretty telling to me that the highest rated F1 driver in my model (Lando Norris) and the highest rated IndyCar driver (O'Ward) are both driving for McLaren. I tend to think the problem isn't them.

21. (29) Mikel Azcona

Even though Azcona only finished 7th in the World Touring Car Cup in 2021, I rated him very highly because he utterly dominated his teammate Rob Huff, the 2012 champion of the World Touring Car Championship, a technically different series that still featured most of the same drivers. Additionally, Azcona simultaneously won the TCR Europe championship against shallower competition. Azcona in 2020 and 2021 was clearly let down by the fact that his Zengő Motorsport team did not have the equipment to compete for championships. In 2022, Azcona finally landed a faster car for Hyundai's factory entry and he lived up to this potential, dominating the WTCR championship and beating Norbert Michelisz, another underdog Zengő graduate turned champion, by a massive margin of 337 points to Michelisz's 222. Azcona led the series in virtually every statistical category, with 3 natural races led, a 1-0 lead change record (tied with three others for best), four wins, 3 TNL, 2.67 lead shares, 3.67 CRL, 4 races where he led the most laps, 5 fastest races, and a speed percentile of 75.77. The only categories he did not lead were poles (2; he narrowly lost to Néstor Girolami who had 3), and fastest laps (he had 3 while his ex-teammate Huff actually had 4.) However, the championship still felt somewhat hollow. He finally got a fast enough car to win the title in a year the series effectively collapsed. He was of course greatly aided by the fact that Cyan Racing, the team two-time defending champion Yann Ehrlacher drove for, shut down in mid-season. Although Azcona had the fastest average speed among full-timers, Ehrlacher was actually the fastest driver in general and certainly would've given Azcona a strong fight had he competed. Having said that, Azcona was leading both Ehrlacher and his teammate Santiago Urrutia (who had a slight advantage over Ehrlacher) in the points when Cyan shut down, but the title was still close at that point. Without them competing, he cruised to a title in a year nobody cared about the series anymore. The WTCR was a mess as the Nürburgring race was canceled due to concerns about the tires, five Asian rounds were canceled due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and two rounds in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia were randomly added at the end of the season to attempt to compensate for this. It was already announced that the long-running series would not be returning for 2024 so it was something of a pyrrhic victory for Azcona. He finally won the biggest championship of his career in the year it stopped being a major championship. Nonetheless, the quality of the drivers in the field wasn't that much worse than it had been before and I think he still performed very impressively, even if the series itself had become a joke.

20. (3) Lewis Hamilton

Although Hamilton had his first Formula One season without either a win or a pole after fifteen consecutive winning seasons (tying Michael Schumacher's record from 1992-2006), he didn't perform that badly. However, his new Mercedes teammate George Russell did outperform him slightly in basically every single statistical category. The gap between Russell and Hamilton was definitely not large as Hamilton was very close by all metrics, so I have ranked him close to Russell. I definitely don't think it was a blowout, but I do think it's unjustified to rank Hamilton over Russell as Autosport did and it feels me that as with all the lists that are vastly overrating Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel, Hamilton is being rewarded for past history. Either that or they wanted to bump him up as an attempt to re-litigate Abu Dhabi 2021 (and I'll say the same thing now I said then: Max Verstappen was clearly better in 2021 even if Hamilton was better in that specific race.) Autosport ranking him 4th in the world is clearly unreasonable, although not as unreasonable as ranking Stoffel Vandoorne 6th or Will Power 8th when they were absolutely not the best drivers in Formula E or IndyCar respectively, and Power in particular was the worst of the three Penske drivers. I will make my comparisons between Hamilton and Russell in the Russell entry, but as for Hamilton's placement here, I definitely felt he was better than Sergio Pérez and probably felt he was better than Carlos Sainz, Jr. (although I was definitely debating Hamilton vs. Sainz for quite some time since in addition to Sainz winning and Hamilton not, Sainz had the best overtake percentage in F1 this year while Hamilton only ranked 5th, behind four of the other five drivers in competitive cars and he was basically tied with Pérez by that metric with an overtake percentage of 68.5% to Pérez's 67.7%. I think he still slightly outperformed his equipment as I ranked him 5th among F1 drivers despite him only having the 6th fastest car and ranking 6th in the championship and most other metrics. I think he was better than Sainz and Pérez but definitely worse than another driver who had a slower car. He's still one of the world's elite drivers and he'll probably bounce back and win again in 2023, but it does look like Russell is going to overtake him as Mercedes team leader if he hasn't already.

19. (C) Mathieu Jaminet

Jaminet staked his claim as one of the best sports car drivers in the world in 2022, when he ran his first full-time IMSA season as a new driver in the GTD Pro class with a Pfaff Motorsports team that was new to the class after winning the more amateur-oriented GTD championship in 2021 with Laurens Vanthoor and Zacharie Robichon. Despite switching classes and introducing two new full-time drivers in Jaminet and Matt Campbell to American motorsports, the duo blitzed the field and made everyone else look silly. However, even though Campbell entered the year with the more significant IMSA experience having already won a 12 Hours of Sebring and two Petits Le Mans in the GTLM class, it was the new guy who had never won an IMSA race before who unquestionably led the team. Jaminet started the year off in style by winning his class in the 24 Hours of Daytona in one of the most exciting duels in IMSA history. Vanthoor, like his former team, switched back from the GTD class to the GTD Pro class for a one-off in the 24 Hours of Daytona in 2022 and Jaminet and Vanthoor staged an intense, NASCAR-esque, fender-bending duel in the closing laps of the Rolex. As if to disprove any arguments that sports car racing is boring, Vanthoor took the lead from Jaminet with three laps to go before Jaminet returned the favor and took the win in class on the final lap of the race. Since Jaminet had never won in IMSA before while Vanthoor had won both the GTLM and GTD titles, this really put him on the map in a big way, but unlike Tom Blomqvist, Jaminet continued to be the best driver in his class all season by a huge margin. Although he and Matt Campbell won the GTD Pro championship and five races, utterly dominating the two-time defending champions Antonio García and Jordan Taylor, Jaminet was by almost all metrics significantly better than Campbell. Jaminet led the way with 5 natural races led (no one else had more than 2), 4 TNL (no one else had more than 1), 3.46 lead shares (no one else had more than 1.3), 2.16 cumulative races led (no one else had more than 1.11), and on and on through most categories. At 6-4, he did not quite lead in lead change record, but his pass differential of 2 for the lead was still tied for the most. About the only thing that Jaminet was lacking in curiously was speed: he had no fastest laps or fastest races and had a speed percentile of only 58.63% while Campbell was significantly faster (71.75%.) However, I would argue it is a significant advantage to be better at passing than speed, as I previously argued for Tyler Reddick, Erik Jones, and Felipe Fraga, while it's usually disappointing to underachieve in terms of passing when you have greater speed. I wouldn't say that Campbell really underachieved since he still ranked 2nd in nearly every category and both of them were clearly better in the class than anyone else. Even though Jaminet was not as fast as Campbell, he still ranked 3rd in speed of the ten series regulars so it's not like you can argue he was slow. Still, his dueling ability all season was pretty amazing as his advantage in lead shares was only comparable to one other IMSA or WEC driver in 2022, a much more well-known driver who hails from the same country.

18. (59) Jake Dennis

Even though I find Formula E pretty unwatchable with its worse-than-NASCAR gimmicks like the FanBoost (which they've finally gotten rid of - yay!), attack mode to artificially inflate passing, allowing Lucas di Grassi to take the lead by driving through the pits under caution, and disproportionate focus on street courses with no history, I think its drivers are generally the most underrated in the world. While it started out as something of a series for F1 rejects, I think the competition there has markedly improved. The drivers on average do better in my teammate model than IndyCar drivers do (for example, the highest-rated current FE driver in my model Mitch Evans is considerably ahead of any IndyCar drivers currently.) I do think the top IndyCar drivers overall are roughly equivalent to the top Formula E drivers, but the series has far fewer bad ones: no Dalton Kelletts or Tatiana Calderóns there, yet because the series lacks history or passion amongst the fans, the drivers also seem to be far less respected than IndyCar drivers. Amongst the Formula E drivers this year, there is no one I raved about more than Jake Dennis. While I don't think he was the best FE driver of 2022, much like Scott McLaughlin in IndyCar he seems to be making the most impressive ascent. Dennis was immediately impressive as a rookie in 2021 when he finished 3rd in the championship for the Andretti team, tied for the most wins, and had the highest average percent led in the series. Although on the surface it seems like he declined in 2022 as he dropped from 3rd to 6th in points and from 2 wins to 1, I actually think he improved substantially. After his teammate Maximilian Günther was replaced by ex-IndyCar Oliver Askew, I fully expected Dennis to be the team leader and while I was correct, I vastly underestimated the margin of victory. Dennis swept Askew 12-0 in terms of shared head-to-head finishes and beat him 126-24 in points. This is a rare accomplishment. In all four of the major league open wheel series in 2022, Dennis was one of only two drivers to sweep his teammate. The other was Scott Dixon sweeping Jimmie Johnson, but there's a big difference between Askew and Johnson. Johnson was a NASCAR legend with no open wheel experience going on a joyride in his swan song/decline years while Askew beat Rinus VeeKay to win the Indy Lights championship a mere three years earlier. In Askew's rookie season in IndyCar, he beat his teammate Pato O'Ward (who went on to finish 4th in points) three times including both Iowa races. Admittedly, I suspect Askew may have never fully recovered from his injury in the Indy 500 that year, but Askew is still quality enough that sweeping him is an incredible accomplishment. That allowed Dennis to rank 5th overall in my teammate model and 3rd among Formula E drivers. He overachieved by every single one of my metrics. Despite ranking 8th in speed, he ranked 4th in wins, 3rd in TNL, 3rd in lead shares, 4th in cumulative races led, 2nd in races with the most laps led, tied for the most poles, 3rd in fastest laps, and 4th in fastest races. He outranked the speed of his car by four positions in every single category, although admittedly a lot of those statistics were tied with other drivers. Clearly by all these metrics, his 6th place points finish (where he actually came out 2nd in a three-way tie for 5th with Lucas di Grassi and Robin Frijns) was underrating him. His season highlight came in his home country in London where he won both of his poles while winning and setting the fastest lap at the first race. At most of the other circuits, he didn't have the speed to win but kept grinding out finishes. I lowkey think he might have actually been the best Formula E driver of the year and although he wasn't talked about all that much, I always planned to list him in my Elite tier because I don't think any driver rose in my estimation more in 2022 than he did. I think Dennis was probably the most underrated driver in the world in 2022, and as if to prove me right, he won last weekend's Formula E season opener at Mexico City and seems to me like he might be the 2023 championship favorite. For all the hype Colton Herta gets (and much of it is deserved) Dennis is the best driver on Andretti's roster right now and I don't even think it was close last year yet he gets next to no attention for it. Hopefully I have somewhat remedied that.

17. (11) Kévin Estre

The driver I alluded to in the Mathieu Jaminet entry, he dominated the WEC's LMGTE class in much the same way that Jaminet dominated the equivalent IMSA GTD Pro class; he was basically just the European Jaminet, or since Estre was much more previously established I suppose I should say Jaminet was the American Estre, but that would be wrong since they're both Frenchmen. It was difficult to decide between those two, because while Jaminet did win the IMSA championship with five wins including the marquee event at the 24 Hours of Daytona while Estre only won once, narrowly lost the championship to James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi, and didn't win Le Mans, the competition in Europe in that class was in my opinion deeper, Estre (unlike Jaminet) dominated in terms of speed and passing, and Jaminet got significant support from having Matt Campbell (the fastest driver in the class) as his teammate while Estre was let down by the fact that his teammate Michael Christensen was the second-slowest driver in the class. For all these reasons, I chose Estre over Jaminet but it was close. It was very close. Even though Calado and Pier Guidi won the championship and two races while Estre finished 2nd in points in only won once, Estre was still better by a huge margin in my opinion. Estre was the only driver to lead 4 of the 6 races naturally (no one else led more than 2), he had 2 TNL (no one else had more than 1), 2.46 lead shares (no one else had more than 1), 2 fastest races at the first two events at Sebring and Spa (no one else had more than 1), and he had a speed percentile of 79.81%, which was 17.5% ahead of the next fastest driver in the class Nick Tandy, which is almost beyond belief. Tandy beat Christensen in speed in all six races and beat him in speed by maybe a greater margin than any driver in a major league series beat a teammate, as Christensen's speed percentile was only 37.41%. Calado did beat Estre in a couple of metrics, as he had a 3-1 lead change record to Estre's 4-2 and Calado and Pier Guidi did beat Estre in cumulative races led even though Estre had the faster average speed, but I really think the only reason Estre did not win the title going away is because he couldn't quite make up for Christensen's lack of speed, even though he was way, way faster and more dominant than anyone else in the class. I think Estre was clearly the second-worst snub from Autosport's top 50 list, but there was one that was even more glaring.

16. (47) Tom Ingram

In a year where an unusual number of major league series had a champion who was inarguably not the best driver, the British Touring Car Championship was clearly one of the main exceptions. The BTCC veteran Ingram was best in pretty much every single category with 6 natural races led, 6 wins, 6 TNL, 5.67 lead shares, 6.38 CRL, 7 races where he led the most laps, 8 fastest laps, and 7 fastest races; he led in every single one of these categories and wasn't even tied with any other drivers. The only categories Ingram did not lead were poles (he had 2 while Colin Turkington had 3), lead change percentage (his was 2-1 while a few drivers had 1-0 lead change records), and speed percentile (where Jake Hill narrowly beat him 82.83%-81.67%.) Since Turkington won the most poles and his teammate Hill had the fastest average speed, with Turkington also barely behind Ingram in speed with a speed percentile 80.46%, it seems clear that Ingram did not have the fastest car either and Hill and Turkington's BMWs were faster than Ingram's Hyundai entry. Ingram beat his teammates by a substantially worse margin than most of the other championship contenders as well. Although his teammate Dan Lloyd did win three times, he finished 10th in the championship, scored less than half of Ingram's points, and lost the teammate head-to-head 24-5. And Lloyd was Ingram's best teammate. His other teammates Tom Chilton (brother of Max) and Jack Butel finished 15th and 27th in the championship respectively. I suppose you could make the case that Ashley Sutton was better, since he only lost the title by 12 points, possibly had even a slower car, and beat Dan Cammish nearly as badly as Ingram beat Lloyd and Cammish has a bigger reputation. However, I definitely choose to go with the consensus pick on this one. Sutton only ranked around 5th by most performance metrics other than raw consistency and the championship finish, benefited significantly that Cammish was forced to pull over for him once, and only barely outperformed Cammish by passing metrics while Ingram crushed Lloyd by those metrics as well even though Lloyd won three times while Cammish only won once.

15. (C) Mitch Evans

Evans was a driver I admit I never paid much attention to until I created my open wheel driver model and noticed much to my surprise that he was the highest-ranked Formula E driver in the original iteration of my model as well as every iteration since, and he has also been ranked ahead of all active IndyCar drivers for the entire history of my model as well; he was even my highest-rated driver globally in 2020. This initially puzzled me because at the time he had only ever won two Formula E races, but the result wasn't really spurious either as he had scored six podiums for his Jaguar team while none of his teammates over four seasons had finished better than 4th (and these were all good drivers: they included original Formula E champion Nelson Piquet, Jr., A1GP champion Adam Carroll, current and three-time WEC GT champion James Calado, current IMSA DPi champion Tom Blomqvist, and two-time and current 12 Hours of Sebring winner Alex Lynn.) Despite all that, it just felt wrong that my model thought he was better than all previous FE champions and all current IndyCar drivers. Nonetheless, I naturally paid more attention in 2021 and Evans disappointed somewhat. Although he did beat Sam Bird narrowly in the championship (4th-6th) Bird won twice while Evans went winless in a year 11 drivers won; Bird also narrowly won the head-to-head. I penalized Evans (probably too severely) and kept him off the top 100 last year, perhaps because I had too high expectations. But this time Evans finally lived up to the hype of my model and delivered the kind of season I expected. In fact, the 2022 Formula E season was great vindication for my model generally (except that it is drastically underrating Jake Dennis right now) as the three highest-ranked current FE drivers (Evans, Edoardo Mortara, and Stoffel Vandoorne) were indeed the top three finishers in points albeit in a different order with Vandoorne, Evans, and Mortara ranking in that order. Nonetheless, their performance did accurately reflect that as Evans and Mortara both drastically outran Vandoorne in the races, each winning four times while Vandoorne only won once. Evans was the fastest driver in the series with a speed percentile of 82.79%, but I definitely think Mortara outperformed him because he matched Evans in wins and beat him in lead shares and cumulative races led despite having a substantially slower car. However, Evans was still clearly 2nd best in general. He tied Mortara for most natural races led, had the best lead change percentage at 5-2, led with 4 TNL, ranked 2nd in lead shares and CRL, and led the series with 4 fastest races. Even more impressively, Evans did so in a year where his teammate Bird, a driver who had won and placed in the top ten in points in every previous season, failed to lead a lap and finished 13th in the championship. Evans did seem to beat Bird substantially worse than Mortara beat his teammate Lucas di Grassi, but I still decided he had too much of an equipment advantage. How much? Bird actually ranked 3rd in speed despite going winless, which was even faster than Mortara. Mortara also edged out Evans to be the 4th-highest rated FE driver in my teammate model in 2022, with Mortara ranking 9th overall and Evans ranking 11th overall. For these reasons, I think Evans was either the 2nd or 3rd best driver in Formula E, but I chose him over Dennis because it seems like Dennis's profile is more theoretical while Evans delivered the results (but if you wanted to argue Dennis did more with less, I certainly wouldn't argue with you.) Nonetheless, although he wasn't the best Formula E driver this year, I'm excited that my model did manage to successfully identify a great driver before his breakout.

14. (15) Josef Newgarden

Although the racing in IndyCar was pretty dull in 2022, the top-level parity in the series was unusually impressive, not unlike NASCAR. Just like in NASCAR, I chose the expected choice for the best driver in the series, but it's not like there wasn't a lot of competition. While Newgarden's teammate Will Power nosed him out for the championship (giving Newgarden his 3rd straight 2nd place finish in the championship), different drivers led in almost every different category this year. Pato O'Ward led in natural races led (5) and my teammate model, Colton Herta led in lead change record (4-0), TNL (4), and lead shares (3.90), Scott McLaughlin led in cumulative races led (3.25), Power led in poles (5), Álex Palou led in fastest laps (tied with Newgarden at 3), and Scott Dixon led in races with the fastest average speed. Newgarden himself did win the most races and had the fastest average speed, but didn't win any other categories outright although he tied Herta in TNL, McLaughlin in races with the most laps led (4), and Palou in fastest laps (3). I actually don't think the differences between most of these drivers are all that massive and while I was always planning to rank Newgarden as the highest-ranked IndyCar driver it certainly wasn't a lock or something. Even though Newgarden finished 2nd in the championship with the fastest car back-to-back years, it's easy to argue he only lost both championships due to bad luck, as Newgarden was running away with the Road America race in 2021 before his car failed to restart properly with two laps to go, handling Palou the win and ultimately the title before crashing after a part failure while utterly dominating the 2nd race at his usual stomping ground of Iowa. Had those outcomes which seemed entirely out of his control been reversed, he would be a four-time champion now and he's clearly been the best driver in the series overall since his Penske debut in 2017. After he had the best lead change percentage four years in a row from 2015-18 he seemed to grow a little complacent from 2019-21 as even though he still was as frequent a winner as anyone else, he was becoming more reliant on strategy and consistency and was no longer the exciting gunslinger he had been in his early years (either O'Ward or Herta seems to have taken that over now) but Newgarden did bring back a little of the edge and bravado from previous seasons back in 2022 when he passed his teammate McLaughlin for the win on the last lap at Texas, clearly outfought the field at both Iowa races and had a killer final run to victory at Gateway. By all rights, he should have won four of the five oval races, making it even more puzzling why he hasn't really fought for the win in any of his Indy 500s since 2016 (the year before he went to Penske.) However, these oval races were the only races Newgarden led naturally and McLaughlin and Herta generally seemed to be the most electrifying drivers on the road courses all season. Newgarden was pretty reliant on his pit crew in most of his road course races, beating Palou out of the pits to claim his long-overdue first Long Beach win and Alexander Rossi at Road America, but for all his blistering oval speed, his road course performance seems to be taking a bit of a downturn, which is not a good sign when the series is so skewed towards road and street courses now. Although he was very fortunate to have two full points races at his best track (which made me think he'd be the champion in 2022) he was very unfortunate to have a part failure in one of them and his season was arguably derailed by a scary incident when he lost consciousness and collapsed in the Iowa infield. Just as in 2016, he didn't let his injury deter him and didn't miss any races, but it did end up making his championship chances a longshot for the rest of the season. Two races later at his hometown Nashville, he inexplicably took a level in jerkass when he shoved Romain Grosjean into the wall and attempted to justify it by saying "welcome to IndyCar", which gave me gross Joey Logano at Fontana "that's what he gets" vibes. Thankfully, unlike Denny Hamlin, Grosjean wasn't injured in Newgarden's stunt. Shortly thereafter, he mocked his potential substitute driver Santino Ferrucci for misspelling his name. I do get his frustration that he's pretty much been the dominant driver in IndyCar for years by himself and keeps losing titles out of his control, but he was starting to come off pretty petulant and I was starting to lose respect for him. By that point, I no longer wanted to see him win the title personally but still acknowledged he had the best season. However, I get the sense that this is the end of Newgarden's "imperial reign" and he knows it as evidenced by the chinks in his armor this year. He will still win many more races. He will probably win an Indy 500 and another title, but I suspect this is the last time he will be the best IndyCar driver in a season as McLaughlin seems poised to take the mantle from him with drivers like O'Ward, Herta, and Palou nipping at his heels.

13. (95) Joey Logano

Although he won the NASCAR Cup championship, I do not think Logano was quite the best Cup driver of 2022. However, unlike his previous championship season of 2018, he wasn't far off and a strong case could be made that this was the best season he ever had (although I would probably still choose 2015.) Although Logano had several earlier seasons that seemed either more dominant or more consistent than this one, what was truly impressive about his 2022 is what he managed to do in a year that Penske seemed to be a little behind on speed. When I looked at this year's lap time averages, I was surprised to note that Penske drivers only had the fastest average speed once all season: Logano in the Daytona 500. Furthermore, they only had the fastest lap four times: Logano in both Darlington races and Ryan Blaney in both Phoenix races. This smacks of an intentional strategy to focus on specific races while neglecting the rest of the season. The fact that Logano won a dominant race at Phoenix and Blaney nearly matched him in speed while Blaney had both fastest laps there indicates that Penske went full-bore on Phoenix, and were willing to neglect a lot of the other races a little to maximize their Phoenix performance. That's certainly a risky strategy because if you don't give yourself the speed to win at every track, you run the chance of not winning and maybe even missing the playoffs, which Blaney came perilously close to doing, but if you do make it to the Final Four and you've invested all your resources into one race while your rivals did not, you can run away with it, as Logano did in one of the most dominant races of the season. Penske seemed to be specifically focusing on the big money races in particular and being blasé about all the other ones. The facts that their only fastest race was the Daytona 500 and their rookie driver Austin Cindric won it and also that they swept three of the top four positions including Blaney's win in the all-star race despite lacking a little speed on the intermediates for the rest of the season backs up this theory. Penske no longer cares about winning most Cup races. They only care about collecting the big money prizes. If I am correct about this, it's absolutely incredible that Logano managed to perform as well as he did. Despite ranking 7th in speed for the entire season, not only did he win the championship but he also ranked 2nd in wins, lead shares, and cumulative races led. Although it seems like the Penske team ignored a lot of races, it's telling that they performed so well on the superspeedways shorter than 1.5 miles. While Logano's wreck of William Byron in the spring Darlington race was one of the most obnoxious moments of the season, there's no denying that he was clearly without question the best driver in that race anyway and he also won at Gateway too. I imagine the strength of their Phoenix setups probably helped them at these tracks also, but most of the other times Logano ran well it simply came down to carrying his car I think or occasionally luck. He was certainly lucky in the fall Las Vegas race that three of the top four cars in speed were taken out in the Bubba Wallace/Kyle Larson/Christopher Bell crash and he was the fastest left; he did his job and took the win. However, what dissuaded me from calling him the best NASCAR driver of the year is that Blaney and several others did beat Logano substantially by a number of metrics: Blaney was faster than Logano and was faster in more races than Logano was; he also was a better passer with a 21-17 lead change record to Logano's 23-28. He was the only driver all season who was passed for the lead five or more times more than he made a pass for the lead. If he really did have slower cars than most of the cars he was racing against, that does make sense but Blaney was certainly a more efficient passer throughout the race even if Logano was a better passer at the end. It's worth noting that in Ryan McCafferty's 2022 TDR model, Chase Elliott, Logano, and Blaney were basically indistinguishable. To me they were not indistinguishable and Logano was clearly better than Blaney. He had 4 wins to Blaney's 0, 4 TNL to Blaney's 0, 2.72 lead shares to Blaney's 1.75, 4 races with the most lead shares to Blaney's 0, 2.77 CRL to Blaney's 2.36, 3 races with the most laps led to Blaney's 2, 4 poles to Blaney's 3, and 1 fastest race to Blaney's 0. If Logano outshone Blaney in that many categories, I think they had a fairly large difference even if I'm overstating it. Blaney was certainly a lot closer in terms of performance than in terms of results, but I really do value clutch performance a lot so I am rating Logano and Blaney much further apart than a lot of other people would, although I suspect many others would quibble about me putting Blaney in the top 50 when he had a winless Cup season, so you can't please everyone.

12. (64) George Russell

It was hard to know how good Russell was in previous seasons when he drove for Williams, one of the slowest teams on the grid in 2020 and 2021. I already knew he was very good. That was not in dispute. He had beaten Lando Norris for the F2 title in 2018 by a pretty large margin a mere two years after Norris won three championships simultaneously in 2016. As an F1 rookie in 2019, he was the highest-ranking driver in my teammate model, something his teammate Lewis Hamilton has still never done yet. However, Russell's teammate that year was Robert Kubica and I suspected that was more because Kubica was rusty after many years out of open wheel racing than because Russell was that good. In 2020, he was instantly faster than Valtteri Bottas in his one-off for the Mercedes team when Hamilton had COVID. Then he qualified 2nd at Belgium in the Williams in 2021, which resulted in a 2nd place finish after the race was stopped after one lap in one of racing's biggest jokes this decade. All these were certainly indicators of future greatness, but I was not yet convinced he was currently great. Now I am. While I knew he'd be better than Valtteri Bottas and pose something of a threat to Hamilton, I didn't think he'd actually be better. However, he pretty much outperformed him by every single metric. Not only did Russell win a race and finish 4th in the points while Hamilton went winless and finished 6th in the points, Russell had 1 natural race led, win, TNL, and lead share to Hamilton's 0, 1.42 CRL to Hamilton's 0.73, 2 races where he led the most laps to Hamilton's 0, 1 pole to Hamilton's 0, 4 fastest laps to Hamilton's 2, and 2 fastest races to Hamilton's 0. He outperformed Hamilton by every single metric except for lead change record where they were both 0-2. Russell's biggest advantage was maybe overtaking as he had a 49-13 overtake record to Hamilton's 63-29 (79.0% to 68.5%.) So why do I still have them this close? Because while Russell was better in terms of the top end of performance, I think Hamilton was more consistent and had a higher floor. Russell did beat Hamilton in terms of speed percentile (79.96%-76.79%) and head-to-head teammate record by only 10-9 in races and Hamilton did still outqualify Russell 13-9, the only thing he really beat him at. Russell's race performance certainly slightly outperformed Hamilton's by basically every metric and I don't think most people expected that, and he looks better by the advanced analytics than the basic ones, but it wasn't a blowout and I think Russell's main advantage is that his best races were better. Obviously Russell was underrated in my teammate model even despite 2019 so him slightly outperforming Hamilton means he had a huge advantage there, as his rating of .388 ranked 4th in F1 and 7th overall. While Russell ranking behind Norris and Max Verstappen is justified, Esteban Ocon slightly beat Russell in my teammate model as well and that isn't really justified. It just reflects that Fernando Alonso used to be great and is now merely good, but I wonder if we're going to look back on this Hamilton season and say the same thing.

11. (C) Ross Chastain

I admit that objectively I should have ranked Joey Logano as the second-best driver in NASCAR this year. Not only did Logano beat Chastain for the championship, he ranked 2nd in wins, lead shares, and cumulative races led in a year he only ranked 7th in speed while Chastain (who ranked behind Logano in all those categories) was 5th fastest. Additionally, Logano's wins were all more impressive than either of Chastain's. Ryan McCafferty ranked Logano barely 2nd behind Chase Elliott, while ranking Chastain only 5th. However, I will not be doing that. There is more to evaluation than pure number-crunching. I also care about the impact made on a team. It was certainly easier for Logano to win a championship with a long-established powerhouse team that has won a NASCAR race every single year since 1991 than it is to contend for one for a second-year team that finished 25th in points with its only entry the year before. Lifting a previously-unheralded team to greatness is a greater accomplishment than delivering results to a team that has been delivering results for years. While the Bubba Wallace, Daniel Suárez, Chase Briscoe, and Erik Jones breakouts all surprised me to some extent, Chastain's honestly didn't because he had been very good for years. Prior to 2022, Chastain had already finished in the top fifteen of my teammate model four of the last five years and he was already regarded as extremely consistent for the generally slow cars he had to fans in the know for years. In my model (which considers performances in all NASCAR divisions, not merely the Cup Series), he ranked 15th in 2017, 9th in 2018, 8th in 2019, and 11th in 2021. In other words, he had been a NASCAR playoff-caliber driver long before he had a playoff-caliber car, even before he even had a full-time Cup ride. I predicted prior to the season that Chastain would be the last driver out of the playoffs, not because I doubted his talent but because I doubted that a 2nd year team like Trackhouse Racing would be significant contenders. Once it was clear that they had the speed to win, I was hardly surprised that Chastain was contending for wins. Admittedly, both of his wins were kind of cheesy as he spun out A.J. Allmendinger to win at COTA (although to be fair, Chastain was still the TNL as Allmendinger did not lead a lap, and in that race Chastain was the only driver to pass Tyler Reddick for a race win all season) and he only won the spring race at Talladega because Erik Jones's drafting help crashed behind him. Normally I'd be critical of somebody whose wins are that lucky (as I was for Christopher Bell), but Chastain obviously had a lot more substance beyond that than Bell (or Alex Bowman last year) did. For one thing, Chastain made more passes for the lead (31) than any driver this season and ranked 2nd in races with the most lead shares (4). Three of those races (both Las Vegas races and the Coca-Cola 600) were races he did not win, but there were obviously a lot of other races he could have won had circumstances played out differently, especially Pocono, where he was intentionally wrecked out of the lead by an illegal car. Chastain did have two of the most stellar come from behind moments when he did recover from a lap down to win at Talladega (cheesy though the finish was) and two laps down to finish 2nd at Atlanta (even in drafting races, that's still fairly rare.) He also showed the ability to battle for the lead on almost any kind of track as his versatility was also impressive, although as with Tyler Reddick (who was honestly very similar but less consistent) it seemed his best moments invariably came on both road courses and 1.5-mile speedways. What really made Chastain intimidating this year was his ability to get good finishes despite wildly overdriving and feuding with other drivers. While some drivers historically like Kyle Busch or Rusty Wallace underachieved relative to their performance for years because their dominance was undercut by moments of stupidity, that didn't seem to matter for Chastain as he seemed relatively unflappable. I understand why people are comparing him to Earnhardt, but he won't live up to that hype. Chastain showed a bravery, bravado, and willingness to think outside the box long before the Martinsville race that made him famous. Many years ago when David Smith was a talent scout before he evolved into a statistical analyst, he divided drivers into five categories: Gunslingers, Conservatives, Cerebral Warriors, Blue-Collar Workers, and Aggressors (even though he only wrote these columns when he was about 20, I still think they were the best pieces he has ever written.) What's funny is that Chastain is one of the very few drivers ever who can be described as all of these things simultaneously, but if I had to put him in one category, it would be the Cerebral Warrior. He has a history of making moves few others would think to do and is usually rewarded for it, and this predated Martinsville. Although it irritated me personally, his decision to cut the track corners at Indianapolis to attempt to steal that win was obviously an attempt to test NASCAR's limits by doing something else no one dared to try; it could be viewed as a trial run for his Martinsville run. But obviously it was Martinsville that defined his season if not his career. Although Carl Edwards and Kyle Larson had attempted to wall-ride their way to victory, Chastain was the first driver to figure out how to do it and make it work and actually successfully pass cars doing that to claim an unexpected Final Four spot. Instantly viral and frequently compared to Dale Earnhardt's "Pass in the Grass" (the most overrated move in NASCAR history), it won praise even from many fans and drivers who had never watched or enjoyed NASCAR before. After years of NASCAR seeming only to get bad press for nasty off-track incidents, Chastain changed that and made casual fans and outsiders care about the actual racing again. While Logano was clearly technically better, his season will not be remembered as well and NASCAR in 2022 will always be the Year of Ross. I mainly ranked him this high for elevating a team that had never won a race before to 2nd in points (which nobody had done since Bobby Allison in 1970), but the Martinsville move certainly cemented it. As great as the 2022 NASCAR season was (it probably was the best NASCAR season in over 20 years), that one move might have overshadowed the entire season.

10. (35) Filipe Albuquerque

One of only two drivers along with Felipe Fraga to lead two different major league series in lead shares, I think Albuquerque was the second-best sports car driver of the year even though he failed to win both his WEC and IMSA classes. His IMSA performance was certainly better, as he won four races, led the series with 5 natural races led, 3 TNL (tied with Sébastien Bourdais), 3.08 lead shares, and 1.8 CRL, while his teammate Ricky Taylor failed to make an on-track pass for the lead all season with a 03 lead change record, had 0 lead shares, and 1.09 CRL. While I think Taylor genuinely outperformed Albuquerque in IMSA in 2021, that drastically reversed in 2022 as Albuquerque was clearly the best IMSA DPi driver of 2021 even though he and Taylor narrowly lost the championship to Tom Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis, and even though the pair only won the least significant of the four premier endurance events (the 6 Hours of Watkins Glen.) His performances in the WEC LMP2 were not nearly as obvious, but he was also in my opinion the best driver there. Although he failed to win a race, he was the only driver to have 3 natural races led in the 6 LMP2 starts (nobody else had more than 1), he had a 3-1 lead change record, and led the series with 2 TNL, and 1.83 lead shares. Despite all that dominance over there, he and teammates Philip Hanson and Will Owen only finished 9th in the championship and didn't have a better finish than 5th. I don't really think he was the problem here as he still ranked 7th in speed in his WEC class and was the fastest driver in the Sebring event, and he was still clearly faster than Hanson and Owen. Four of the drivers who had faster speeds and hogged most of the wins (António Félix da Costa, Will Stevens, René Rast, and Robin Frijns) had unambiguously faster cars and none of them even made a pass for the lead all season. Both Hanson and Owen were also passed for the lead without making a pass for the lead, which makes me believe that much like Robby Foley was let down by Bill Auberlen despite being an electrifying passer, Albuquerque was probably likewise let down by his teammates. He took the lead at the start of both the Sebring and Bahrain races, but Hanson got passed by Rast at Bahrain for the win there. Owen got passed by Louis Delétraz at Monza but Albuquerque took the lead and TNL later from Delétraz's teammate Ferdinand Habsburg, before the Delétraz/Habsburg team won the race in the pits anyway. I think Albuquerque was clearly the second-highest performing sports car driver of the year, even though he lacked the championships and marquee race wins to prove it, and that's why I ranked the next driver higher.

9. (90) Dries Vanthoor

While Filipe Albuquerque may have been the best sports car driver of the year in terms of advanced analytics, Vanthoor was clearly the best sports car driver of the year overall. For the third year in a row, Vanthoor and his teammate Charles Weerts won the GT Europe Sprint championship and this year he had easily his most dominant year yet with five wins in the series, and he's still only 24 years old. Because the Stéphane Ratel Organisation does not release lap times or lap leader charts, I can't do the same sort of analyses here as I can do for WEC or IMSA, but Vanthoor's dominance was by no means limited to that one series. He won nine sports car races overall in 2022 and these included two of the big ones, as he was the only driver to win multiple 24 hour races in 2022 as he was on the overall winning teams for both the 24 Hours of Nürburgring and the 24 Hours of Dubai. At Nürburgring, he and co-drivers Robin Frijns, Kelvin van der Linde, and Frédéric Vervisch tied the all-time distance record at the event from 2014 by completing 159 laps. At Dubai, he won his second-consecutive 24 Hours with a completely different set of teammates from his Nürburgring victory: Jens Klingmann, Diego Menchaca, Jean-Baptiste Simmenauer, and Mohammed Bin Saud Al Saud. Since he was the only driver common to both teams, and he won his championship with yet another driver, he was clearly the fundamental linchpin in all these races. And that was not all. Vanthoor also won a WEC race in his only start in the LMP2 class with Frijns and Sean Gelael, substituting for René Rast, who had a conflict with a DTM race. In that race at Fuji, Vanthoor was the fastest driver on the team and ranked 2nd in speed of the 39 drivers overall. He also competed at Le Mans in the LMP2 class for a different team, where he did not win but was still very fast, where he ranked 7th of 81 drivers in speed. Combining the two events, he had the fastest average speed of any driver who entered more than one race. He and Weerts also won the season-opening race at Imola in the GT Europe Endurance championship, but only finished 9th in the championship because they retired at the 24 Hours of Spa. Vanthoor was clearly without question the best sports car driver of the year and I'm wondering if I'm even underrating him at ninth. However, my hesitation is that I don't think the GT Europe Sprint championship is as prestigious as WEC or IMSA and although the Dubai 24 Hour is a 24 hour race, it certainly isn't one of the more prestigious ones and has a very shallow field relative to most other endurance races (most of Vanthoor's other teammates in that race were not well-known, while his teammates on the Nürburgring winning entry definitely are.) I suspect I may look back on this and rank it higher in retrospect, but once you get to this level, there's certainly a surfeit amount of competition.

8. (44) Edoardo Mortara

Probably the best active driver to have never won a major league championship at this point, Mortara had an auspicious rise when he utterly dominated the 2010 Formula 3 Euro Series championship against a field that included F1 winner Valtteri Bottas, DTM champion Marco Wittmann, IMSA and Formula E winner Alexander Sims, Formula E and WEC star António Félix da Costa, sports car champions Laurens Vanthoor and Daniel Juncadella, and Indy 500 TNL Carlos Muñoz. Subsequently, he competed in DTM touring cars where he won ten races including winning the most races in 2016 but losing the title to the aforementioned Wittmann by 4 points. Afterward he switched to Formula E, where he has again been snakebitten. Like Mitch Evans, he entered the 2022 season with two Formula E wins before winning a series-most four wins but again Mortara missed out on the championship. In 2021, he finished 2nd in the championship losing to F1-bound Nyck de Vries by seven points. Now this year, de Vries's teammate Stoffel Vandoorne won the championship while Mortara dropped to 3rd, but he still had the better year. Mortara, the 2nd highest rated FE driver in my model and 4th highest this year, led the series in most statistical categories with 4 wins, 4 natural races led, 2.67 lead shares, 3.81 CRL (a massive advantage over Evans's 2.40), and 5 races where he led the most laps. He did this while bringing a gun to a knife fight to some extent. While Evans had a speed percentile of 82.79% and Vandoorne had a speed percentile of 82.27%, Mortara's speed percentile of 65.61% wasn't even close (although bizarrely Mortara was actually slower than his teammate Lucas di Grassi, who had one of his more mediocre seasons.) He managed to win four times when he only had the fastest race once indicating he was really punching above his equipment. For him to lead all those categories despite the sixth fastest car and to outperform three drivers who were faster than him (Sam Bird, di Grassi, and Jean-Éric Vergne) in basically every category is pretty incredible. Mortara probably won't win the 2023 title either as Maserati just bought his Venturi Racing team and debuted its first new open wheel powerplant since quitting Formula 1 in 1957. There will probably be some learning curves with the new engines and Mortara retired from the first race of the year. However, while I think this is going to be Jake Dennis's year, I do think Mortara will probably eventually win a title.

7. (39) Chase Elliott

Even though Elliott finished last of the four drivers in the NASCAR championship finale at Phoenix, I think he was the best NASCAR driver of 2022, although it's certainly open to debate as Joey Logano elevated the 7th fastest car to a championship, Ross Chastain took a previously-winless team to 2nd in points, Ryan Blaney matched Logano in performance if not in results, Tyler Reddick destroyed the field in on-track passing (especially if you adjust for equipment), and Kyle Larson was the fastest. Depending on what you value, if you wanted to argue any of these six drivers was the best NASCAR driver in 2022, you could make a solid case. Nonetheless, I am personally going with Elliott based on his baseline statistics even though I actually think his season is overrated in some ways. Elliott managed to win the most races in 2022 while being both the most consistent driver in terms of average finish and the most dominant driver in terms of cumulative races led. One driver sweeping all three of these important categories is a relatively rare occurrence in recent NASCAR. In the new millennium, only Jeff Gordon in 2001, Martin Truex, Jr. in 2017, and Kevin Harvick in 2020 have managed to achieve this combination of accomplishments. Usually being the most dominant and the most consistent driver at the same time means you are overwhelmingly the best, but 2022 (and 2020) are certainly both debatable. For one thing, Elliott was not the leader in most other statistical categories this season as he was 2nd in speed behind his teammate Kyle Larson, tied for 6th in natural races led, barely held a winning record in terms of lead change percentage, and only ranked 7th in lead shares (although he would rank 2nd if you give him the TNL for Martinsville and ignore the William Byron/Austin Dillon exchange on the restart). He did tie for the most TNL with Tyler Reddick and Christopher Bell and he tied for the most races with the fastest race speed with Reddick and (surprisingly) Kyle Busch. Ultimately, I decided the wins, consistency, and dominance were enough to still rank Elliott highest, but I probably wouldn't even say this was either his best season or his best season relative to the field. In both 2020 and 2021, Elliott had the most natural races led and the best lead change record (the latter of which was 38-23 in 2020 and 35-22 in 2021) but his passing significantly declined this year as he only had a lead change record of 29-28 this time around even though the Hendrick cars were generally the fastest. Elliott was amazing in his mid-season streak when he scored five top twos in a row, but throughout the rest of the season, his performance and results sometimes lagged (indeed, if you exclude those five races he had a losing combined record against his teammates.) Having said that, it's easy to argue that he should have had more wins than he had considering Larson stuffed him into the wall at Fontana and also roughed him up at Watkins Glen, while the comical late-race caution cost him a win on the Charlotte roval. It's fairly weird that Elliott won both of his 2021 races on road courses considering how strong he was on the ovals while essentially the opposite happened in 2022. However, he remained the most relevant and consistent across multiple track types as he did fight for the lead on all types of tracks, particularly posting his best year on drafting tracks ever with two hard-fought wins at Atlanta and even battling for the win at Loudon, a track where he usually struggles. Overall, I think Elliott was a little overrated this year. While I think he was slightly better than everyone else in a year with absurd parity, it wasn't a no-brainer like I think a lot of people think it is solely because of his wins, his consistency, and his laps led and I think his 2020 was almost certainly better than this. Having said that, Elliott certainly has been underrated by many others simply for finishing fourth in the Final Four (it's ridiculous that Autosport could find no room for him in their top 50 yet they included Alex Albon, Kevin Magnussen, Felipe Drugovich, and José María López, among many, many others who I think were worse than him.)

6. (8) Lando Norris

Norris was clearly one of the best Formula One drivers of the year even though his McLaren was nowhere near fast enough to even contend for wins. Thanks to an utterly dominant performance against his teammate Daniel Ricciardo, where he beat him by a staggering 14-4 in shared finishes, 122-37 in points, and 56.65% to 34.58% in speed percentiles, the largest difference between any two F1 teammates in speed by a large margin, Norris was the highest-rated driver in my open wheel teammate model for 2022. While he absolutely was not better than Max Verstappen, it was a fairly tough call deciding whether Norris, Charles Leclerc, or George Russell should be second. RaceFans ranked him 2nd and that's certainly justifiable (while their rating Fernando Alonso 4th was not.) Autosport ranked him 9th overall and 5th in F1, which is a tough sell, especially if you're going to rank drivers like Stoffel Vandoorne and Will Power who weren't even clearly the best drivers on their team higher. I have taken a middle position. I suspect Norris's performance had more to do with the fact that Daniel Ricciardo declined than that Norris was this great, but Verstappen never beat Ricciardo this badly so I do think Norris was better than most of the drivers who actually won races in 2022 and I do think Norris beating Ricciardo by a greater margin than Verstappen ever did is probably a better accomplishment than Russell slightly outperforming Lewis Hamilton when Hamilton may have significantly declined just like Ricciardo has (although we may need the context of future seasons to tell whether Hamilton's decline was permanent or just a one-off thing.) Despite having a car that was incapable of winning races, Norris still set two fastest laps and one fastest race (the latter of which even Hamilton didn't achieve, yet Autosport still thought he was better.) Norris beat Ricciardo in speed by an even steeper margin than he did in results, as he was faster in 18 races to Ricciardo's 3. Norris's main weakness was passing, as he had a negative overtake record at 48-53, ranking only 11th in that category and behind four other drivers who finished behind him in points (Alonso, Esteban Ocon, and surprisingly Yuki Tsunoda and Zhou Guanyu.) In Alonso and Ocon's case, I think it's simply that the Alpine cars were actually faster than McLarens and the only reason Norris even beat them in speed and in the championship is that he was better. The Tsunoda and Zhou results are more puzzling, but I'll just say it's significantly harder to make passes where Norris was in the field than where they were. And Ricciardo was of course significantly behind Norris in passing metrics too as he ranked 19th and next-to-last among F1 regulars with a 30-58 overtake record (even Kevin Magnussen, Mick Schumacher, and Alex Albon all beat him even though they had slower cars.) I think the passing metrics may be what gave me pause and why I decided to rate Leclerc higher, but I definitely think if he ever gets the car, Norris will be a perennial World Championship contender.

5. (6) Johan Kristoffersson

For the second consecutive year, Kristoffersson won the World Rallycross Championship and was the overwhelmingly dominant driver in the Extreme E electric off-road series. While he didn't win both titles like he had in 2021, I think he was better in 2022. Last year, the driver who has won the last five World Rallycross Championships he contested had one of his least dominant years in the series, winning only three times and only winning the championship over Timmy Hansen on a tiebreaker because Hanson had only won twice. This year, however, Kristoffersson had what was almost certainly his second most dominant rallycross year with 8 wins in 10 races (in 2018, he won 11 of 12 races against a deeper field than he faced this year.) Even more impressively, this time he did it for his own team, as opposed to 2021 when he drove for Mattias Ekström's team or the previous years when he was a Volkswagen factory driver. Hansen again finished 2nd in the championship but this year he only won once and I barely even listed him on the top 200. In Extreme E, he was the only driver to win two races and led the championship for most of the season in a field that contained many rallying legends including Sébastien Loeb, Carlos Sainz, and Nasser Al-Attiyah, but he was really unlucky there. At the Island X-Prix, Kristofferson won on track but received a 30-second penalty for colliding with Sainz on the first lap of the race. He was initially penalized 30 seconds, but afterward Sainz appealed the decision and Kristofferson got a stiffer penalty as he was dropped down to last place behind Sainz. At the Copper X-Prix, a technical glitch meant he couldn't start that event and then the team was disqualified from the season finale for having too many mechanics present in one of the heat races. He ended up losing the championship to Loeb in the final race, but ignoring all the bad luck and issues they had, Kristofferson was still clearly the best driver in that series as well and Loeb for the most part got really lucky (although it was certainly one of Loeb's best years in motorsports overall in a long time.) I was going to rank him 4th because I expected him to win the Extreme E title, but I dropped him one position afterward. My only real criticism is that the World Rallycross Championship has gotten really, really shallow in recent years. When Kristoffersson had his best year ever in 2018 (a year I might consider rating him as the best driver in the world even) he crushed a field that included motorsports legends like Ekström, Loeb, and Petter Solberg. None of those drivers compete there anymore so he has a lot less competition than he used to. Having said that, he continues to win the title there every year just like he did in the years where he did have much more competition, so it's hard to say he's declined. He's still one of the best drivers in the world and also one of the most underrated.

4. (12) Charles Leclerc

At the start of the season, it seemed like Leclerc was emerging as the replacement for Lewis Hamilton as Max Verstappen's chief rival. The Ferraris seemed to be faster than Red Bull at the start of the season, and Leclerc and Verstappen had some frantic duels, particularly at Saudi Arabia, where they exchanged the lead three times before Verstappen came out on top. He started the season with two wins and a second place to take a big points lead, but it's worth noting that Verstappen failed to finish both of the early-season races that Leclerc won. Once Verstappen's reliability improved, Leclerc was basically toast, especially when he started both having issues with reliability and a string of bizarrely bad pit calls. At Barcelona, Leclerc had a turbo failure while leading, which gave Verstappen a points lead he would not relinquish. He also had a power unit failure while leading at Baku and crashed out while leading at Paul Ricard. Beyond all that, his team made a series of weird stategic errors. He won his second consecutive pole position at his home race at Monaco but messed up the strategy and was beaten out by three other drivers. He made a late-race pit stop at Spa to try to claim the fastest lap point and not only failed to do so, he also sped in the pits and lost a position. At Monza, he pitted under a virtual safety car expecting a restart like in the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, but it didn't happen that time and he was relegated to 2nd. Both he and the team seemed to be pretty sloppy this year and turned what could have been a championship season into an extremely distant 2nd, but he did claim 2nd in points in the final race and I think Ferrari was much more at fault for his issues than he was. Leclerc did have some brilliant moments, such as Adelaide, where he gave Ferrari its first Grand Slam in 2010, and the Red Bull Ring, where Leclerc managed to pass Verstappen for the lead three times without being passed once. He certainly did dominate his teammate Carlos Sainz, Jr. with 8 natural races led to Sainz's 1, a 5-7 lead change record to Sainz's 2-4, 3 wins to Sainz's 1, 6 TNLs to Sainz's 1, 6.67 lead shares to 0.6, 5.27 CRL to Sainz's 1.28, 5 races where he led the most laps to Sainz's 1, 9 poles to Sainz's 3, 3 fastest laps to Sainz's 2, and 7 fastest races to Sainz's 1. I understand why some people think Sainz had a mediocre season, but I really don't because Sainz nearly matched Leclerc in speed percentile (87.18-85.96%), had a better overtake percentage than anyone even though Leclerc did slightly better with regard to overtaking for the lead, and tied Leclerc in their teammate head-to-head finishing record. The fact that I do think Sainz himself was elite and Leclerc did utterly dominate him does make Leclerc a lock for the top five in my mind, but there are three drivers I think were better.

3. (62) Kalle Rovanperä

The son of the one-time World Rally Championship winner Harri Rovanperä, Kalle became the youngest WRC champion in history by clinching the title a day after his 22nd birthday. While Rovanperä's teammate Elfyn Evans was probably expected to cruise to the 2022 WRC championship after Sébastien Ogier, who had won eight of the previous nine championships retired from full-time competition, especially considering Evans had finished second to Ogier in back-to-back years in 2020 and 2021, that did not happen as Rovanperä won five rallies while both full-time teammates Evans and Takamoto Katsuta went winless, finished fourth and fifth in the championship, and only scored as many points combined as Rovanperä did throughout the season. Because he won one of the most prestigious championships in the world at an unreal age, I genuinely thought long and hard about ranking him in first place. However, Ryan McCafferty talked me out of it by arguing that the WRC does not have the same level of competition as a lot of other major league series, which is true. Additionally, the question remains whether Rovanperä will sustain his dominance in future years since you could make a strong case that Rovanperä would not have won the title if Ogier competed full-time. Ogier did make some starts and he and Rovanperä each beat the other three times, but Rovanperä did seem to be faster with three rally wins to Ogier's one. Nonetheless, you could make the case that he didn't so much dethrone Ogier as benefit from his departure. Finally, when you consider that the previous two dominant WRC drivers Sébastiens Loeb and Ogier each won eight or more championships, this probably won't be Rovanperä's best year and he'll probably still improve in the future. I'm not convinced the two drivers I have rated higher will ever have a better year.

2. (4) Shane van Gisbergen

van Gisbergen successfully defending his 2021 Supercars championship seemed like a fait accompli before the season even began, but I don't think anybody could have predicted how dominant he would be. Much like Sébastien Bourdais in late-period Champ Car, it's hard to say whether he would have dominated at all if most of the other major talents hadn't left, but you can only beat the drivers who show up. With the all-time win and championship leader Jamie Whincup (van Gisbergen's teammate) retiring from full-time competition after 2021, Scott McLaughlin switching to IndyCar after 2020, and the second-winningest driver Craig Lowndes (who was also van Gisbergen's teammate) retiring after 2018, there is a huge talent vacuum right now, which van Gisbergen exploited to post one of the most dominant years in motorsports history, wherein he won 21 of 34 races, the most in any Supercars season. His championship almost went without saying, especially because Triple Eight Engineering chose a rookie driver Broc Feeney as his teammate instead of one of the hot up-and-comers like Cameron Waters or Chaz Mostert or Anton de Pasquale. I've seen some people criticize him because McLaughlin seemed to have the measure of him before he switched to IndyCar, so a lot of people are saying McLaughlin is still better now and should be rated higher than him, but I don't really think so, as he is not yet as good an IndyCar driver as he was in Supercars and I suspect part of his Supercars dominance may be that his team was faster than Shane's at the time, because Shane did win his first championship in 2016 before McLaughlin did. Once I finally do a touring car model, I can really see whether McLaughlin, van Gisbergen or somebody else was really better those years because I can't say I'm sure about that myself. van Gisbergen led almost every category by a huge margin with 21 wins, 17 natural races led, 17 TNL, a 15-4 lead change record, 15.17 lead shares, 12.25 CRL, 16 races where he led the most laps, 17 fastest laps, 20 fastest races, and a mind-boggling beyond belief 90.77% speed percentile, easily the second-highest in any single-driver major league series this year. The only statistics van Gisbergen did not lead were lead change record (Chaz Mostert's 5-0 was a little better) and poles (Waters and Will Davison won 10 and 9 poles to van Gisbergen's 7, but if anything that even makes more of a case for van Gisbergen since it meant he had to race through the field and make passes more rather than just dominating from the polle repeatedly). The fact that he had more wins than TNL meant that his team was certainly operating at the highest level, but the fact that he had more wins and TNL than lead shares, and that he also had more lead shares than CRL, meant that he was an exceptionally clutch performer in his own right as well. The only thing keeping him out of #1 is that another driver managed a similar level of dominance in a far deeper field, while I suspect van Gisbergen would have never dominated quite like this if most of his competition hadn't left.

1. (1) Max Verstappen

While my placement of Verstappen as the best driver of 2021 was debatable, there is certainly no debate that he was the best driver of 2022. Pretty much exactly like Shane van Gisbergen, Verstappen led in every statistical category except poles and he too set the all-time Formula One record for wins with an incredible 15. Unlike van Gisbergen, he did lead in terms of lead change record as well with a 12-5 record. He also led the way with 12 natural races led, 13 TNL, 12.07 lead shares, 10.74 CRL, 12 races where he led the most laps, 5 fastest laps, 10 fastest races, and a speed percentile of 93.32%, easily the best of any full-time driver in any major league single-driver series (yes, there were a few drivers like Felipe Fraga who did better in really shallow sports car classes that had lots of amateur drivers in them.) While Charles Leclerc did win more poles with 9 to Verstappen's 7, and Carlos Sainz, Jr. did narrowly beat Verstappen in terms of overtake percentage, with a 61-7 passing record to Verstappen's 57-12, Verstappen's dominance across every other category clearly made him the best driver in the world. Verstappen's win count was certainly inflated by a combination of Ferrari's errors, bad luck, and strategy but that is certainly part of the game. I really don't think the Ferraris were that far off in speed compared to the Red Bulls either, because both Leclerc and Sainz had a faster average speed than Sergio Pérez. I still ended up taking Sainz higher than Pérez mainly because of his passing, but if both Ferraris were faster than Pérez, it means that Verstappen's dominance to this degree certainly wasn't guaranteed and his car probably shouldn't have produced as many as 15 wins in 22 races. Very much unlike van Gisbergen, who sort of inherited his status as the dominant driver in Supercars by default because all his competiiton left the series, that wasn't the case for Verstappen. Lewis Hamilton is still there and he ended up going winless, despite having the speed to win a couple times. While I occasionally considered taking both van Gisbergen or Rovanperä over him instead and I might have if Verstappen's hadn't literally had the winningest F1 season ever, I definitely couldn't justify it on that basis alone. Verstappen clearly overtook Hamilton, the previous dominant driver, either in 2021 or 2022 (I would say 2021, but some might disagree), while van Gisbergen never overtook McLaughlin and Rovanperä never overtook Ogier before they left. That decides it, but ultimately I had very little doubt. The one oddity is that for all of Verstappen's dominance, he did not lead my teammate model this year even though he did in both 2020 and 2021. That is because he swept Alex Albon in their head-to-head teammate records in 2020 and then swept Pérez in 2021 while he did not sweep Pérez this year. That meant he ended up ranking 3rd to Lando Norris and (bizarrely) Sérgio Sette Camara, but I don't care. Verstappen was the best driver of the year and it's indisputable. I look forward to him finally overtaking Fernando Alonso in my model next year. My guess is that while he will have more championships after this, he will never have a year as dominant as this one ever again, but this is still an impressive place to be regardless.

Sean Wrona is the Managing Editor of racermetrics.com, the Webmaster of race-database.com, the winner of the 2010 Ultimate Typing Championship at the SXSW Interactive Conference in Austin, and the ratings compiler and statistician for the Mensa Scrabble-by-Mail SIG. He earned a master's in applied statistics from Cornell University in 2008 and previously digitized several seasons of NBA box scores on basketball-reference.com. He is the author of Nerds Per Minute: A History of Competitive Typing. You may contact him at sean@racermetrics.com.