Do you remember what you were doing in 2018? I was a plucky 24-year-old full of hopes, dreams and probably Yorkshire Puddings. It was a time of fun, freedom and one hell of an F1 season. But so far, Formula 1 in 2022 is shaping up to be almost as good.
You might think it’s a strange comparison to make. The 2018 F1 season was another dominated by Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton, it was a year of older regulations and we didn’t even have star drivers like Lando Norris or George Russell on the grid quite yet.
But after Sunday’s race in Imola, Italy, F1 fans were eager to point out that for the first time in ages every team in the grid had scored points after just four races. In fact, after Aston Martin drivers Lance Stroll and Sebastian Vettel placed in 10th and eighth respectively, it also became the first time in years that almost every driver in the paddock has points four races in.
Of the full-time drivers in the paddock this year, just Mick Schumacher and Nicholas Latifi have yet to score points in an F1 race; everyone else has at least one point to their name.
And do you know when the last time every team and all but two drivers had points after just four races was? You guessed it, 2018!
Man, what a year 2018 was for Formula 1.
We had still Toro Rosso on the grid with its gleaming blue and red livery, as well as Sauber, Force India and Renault. Then there were the drivers. Sure, it’s nice having Lando, Zhou Guanyu and Yuki Tsunoda as the fresh faces of the sport, but what happened to Stoffel Vandoorne and Brendon Hartley?
And of that stellar lineup of drivers, can you guess which two it was who were yet to score a point in 2018? That’s right, it was IndyCar racer Romain Grosjean and Russia’s Sergey Sirotkin.
By the end of the year, both drivers would go on to score points, with Grosjean finishing the season on 37 and Sirotkin clinching his one and only F1 point after Grosjean was disqualified from the Italian Grand Prix.
The other spooky similarity between the two pointless drivers in each season is that they were both racing for the Williams and Haas teams. So fingers crossed Schumacher can turn his season around and score big for Haas and maybe a disqualification can help Latifi pick up points for Williams.
But just in case you don’t believe me that 2018 was a belter, here are a few more highlights.
It was the last year that Kimi Räikkönen claimed a race victory, it was the last time both Ferrari drivers finished the year in the top five and was the last time that Haas were a genuine challenger for consistent points and even podiums.
2018 was also the year Fernando Alonso retired from the sport, which worked out well for him. And, it gave us some of the best liveries in recent years. Notable highlights include the 2018 Renault livery, which I think is one of the all time greats.
So, can 2022 continue to live up to these expectations, and even surpass them? That remains to be seen, but it’s off to a great start already.