With the mid-season break drawing to a close, new contracts for the coming seasons will be signed in the next few weeks. Here are the driver lineups that I believe are most realistic for the 2022 season.

Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton

Years at Team – 9

Reasons for Selection:

  • Hamilton is on a contract with Mercedes that runs until the end of 2023.
  • A 7 Time World Champion won’t be inclined to leave one of the most competitive teams on the grid.

George Russell

Previous Team – Williams

Reasons for Selection:

  • Part of the Mercedes driver programme.
  • Valtteri Bottas hasn’t been able to consistently compete with Hamilton so the team may want a fresh talent to future-proof their success.

Red bull

Max Verstappen

Years at Team – 6

Reasons for Selection:

  • Verstappen is on a contract with Red Bull that lasts until the end of 2023.
  • Red Bull have provided Verstappen with a car thar is a championship contender for 2021 (there is no reason to leave).

Sergio Perez

Years at Team – 1

Reasons for Selection:

  • Perez may not be matching Verstappen yet but he has been at the top more consistently than Albon or Gasly so Red Bull may feel comfortable keeping him for another year.

McLaren

Lando Norris

Years at Team – 3

Reasons for Selection:

  • Contracted with McLaren until beyond 2022.
  • Norris has performed superbly with McLaren and knows how to get the best out of the car. With performance on the up it must be worth him sticking around for another year at the very least.

Daniel Ricciardo

Years at Team – 1

Reasons for Selection:

  • Contracted with McLaren until the end of 2023.
  • Although Daniel Ricciardo has struggled throughout the first half of 2021, he is unquestionably one of the most talented drivers on the gird. If given time to learn the car it will surely pay dividends to McLaren in the next few years.

Ferrari

Charles Leclerc

Years at Team – 3

Reasons for Selection:

  • Leclerc is contracted with Ferrari until the end of 2024.
  • Despite a couple of rough season, Ferrari are one of the top teams who will be capable of providing Leclerc with a race winning car in the next few seasons.

Carlos Sainz

Years at Team – 1

Reasons for Selection:

  • Sainz is contracted with Ferrari until the end of 2024.
  • The pairing of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc is one of the strongest on the grid so it would be unusual for Ferrari to disrupt this stability.

Alpine

Esteban Ocon

Years at Team – 2

Reasons for Selection:

  • Contracted with Alpine until the end of 2024.
  • Ocon won his first ever race with the team so he must feel comfortable there. He is already at a good team and as there are no better altertantives there is no reason for him to go.

Fernando Alonso

Years at Team – 1

Reasons for Selection:

  • Contracted with Alpine until the end of 2024.
  • One of the core reasons behind Fernando Alonso’s return to F1 was to see how the new regulations of 2022 play out. There is no chance he will want to leave the sport before then.

alpha Tauri

Pierre Gasly

Years at Team – 3 (Including 2018 as Torro Rosso)

Reasons for Selection:

  • Unless Red Bull decide Sergio Perez has underperformed and Gasly gets called back up to the team, it is most likely the Frenchman will be staying with AlphaTauri for another season.

Yuki Tsunoda

Years at Team – 1

Reasons for Selection:

  • Despite numerous mistakes throughout the first half of the 2021, Tsunoda has showed a lot of potential and Red Bull want to keep him under their wing, all be it in the sister team, for at least another year.

Aston Martin

Sebastian Vettel

Years at Team – 1

Reasons for Selection:

  • Vettel has already recieved the option of extending his contract beyond 2021.
  • With no seats realistically avaliable for him at the top teams, the four time world champion may have to keep fighting in the midfield for the time being.

Lance Stroll

Years at Team – 3

Reasons for Selection:

  • Lance Stroll is the son of the team owner, Lawrence Stroll, so it is most likely he will remain at Aston Martin considering he has an almost certain seat at the team.

Alfa Romeo

Kimi Raikkonen

Years at Team – 3

Reasons for Selection:

  • It is unlikely Kimi will get a seat at one of the top teams, considering he is reacing the end of his career so Alfa Romeo may be the only option for him.
  • Raikkonen loves F1 so will be keen not to retire – maybe he want to beat Fernando Alonso for the record of the most F1 Grand Prixs?

Antonio Giovinazzi

Years at Team – 3

Reasons for Selection:

  • Giovinazzi is a solid driver who I imagine Alfa Romeo would be happy to keep.
  • No other teams have shown interest in him so Alfa Romeo is his only option.

Williams

Nicholas Latifi

Years at Team – 2

Reasons for Selection:

  • With Russell potentially moving to Mercedes, Williams will want to keep at least one driver who is familiar with the car.
  • The only seat avaliable to Latifi for 2022 is his current one so it is unlikely he will move team.

Valtteri Bottas

Previous Team – Mercedes

Reasons for Selection:

  • There is a high chance that Bottas will be replaced by Russell at Mercedes for 2022 so his only option may be to return to his former team of Williams and commit his future to them.

Haas

Mick Schumacher

Years at Team – 1

Reasons for Selection:

  • Schumacher signed a multi-year contract with Haas meaning he will likely stay at the team beyond 2021.
  • With both Ferrari seats currently taken, there is no chance of a promotion for 2022.

Nikita Mazepin

Years at Team – 1

Reasons for Selection:

  • Mazepin signed a multi-year contract with Haas meaning he will likely stay with the team beyond 2021.
  • Mazepin effectively bought his way into the team so it would be unusual for him to leave unless a better offer emerged.
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