Formula One's midseason break delivered drama that the title race so far perhaps had not.

The first half of the campaign had its own intriguing narratives, with Ferrari's frequent collapses and Mercedes' unprecedented struggles, but those strands only served to allow Max Verstappen to build a healthy lead at the top of the standings.

Attention has turned to those in the midfield in recent weeks, though, with Sebastian Vettel's imminent retirement prompting a series of developments that have not yet slowed.

Alpine have been at the heart of the drama, losing Fernando Alonso to Aston Martin in Vettel's place and then failing to secure Oscar Piastri as his replacement.

Piastri instead seems set for McLaren, who have announced Daniel Ricciardo will be leaving the team.

For Alpine then, there will be some relief that focus can now return to the track at the Belgian Grand Prix, with Verstappen set to resume his role at centre stage.

Qualifying key to Red Bull repeat

For those hoping to reel in Verstappen's 80-point lead, they will hope to get more opportunity to attack him than at Spa in 2021, when he started from pole and completed just two laps behind a safety car to claim victory amid a deluge at the circuit in Stavelot.

That result actually continued a recent trend in Belgium, where recovering from a poor qualifying session has proven increasingly tricky.

The past seven winners of the Belgian GP have started from the front row of the grid, with Verstappen among six of those to line up on pole.

Repeating the feat has not been quite so straightforward, however, as Verstappen will be looking to become the first driver to win this race from pole in consecutive entries since Ayrton Senna did so a remarkable four years in a row between 1988 and 1991.

Senna had five Belgian GP wins in total, behind only Michael Schumacher (six). Lewis Hamilton (four) will be bidding to join the Brazilian this weekend.

In-demand Fernando on top form

Alonso will hope his shock move to Aston Martin does not knock his final season with Alpine off course, as the Spaniard had refound form before stunning his team during the break.

The two-time world champion has earned points in each of his past eight races for his best run since another sequence of eight in 2018.

Alonso has not finished in the points in more than eight straight races since 2014, when he put together 15 in a row – the last of them being in Belgium.

But perhaps this could instead be a strong weekend for Alonso's future employers and the man he will replace.

Vettel's best qualifying performance at Aston Martin was fifth at Spa in 2021, finishing fifth on race day, too. Only in Azerbaijan last year (second) has he enjoyed a better result with the team.

The first domino in the Formula One driver market has fallen with Aston Martin's confirmation that Fernando Alonso will be driving for the team in 2023.

Sebastian Vettel's retirement announcement ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix was always going to lead to movement on the grid but Alonso's move from Alpine is a significant statement of intent from the Silverstone-based team.

Alpine are currently vying for the best of the rest tag in 2022, alongside McLaren, while it has been a year to forget so far for Aston Martin – but they still boast one of the most recognisable brands on the grid and Alonso is a stellar acquisition.

There will be further movement, with a number of teams yet to confirm their full driver line-up for the 2023 season – with Alpine, Haas, Alfa Romeo, AlphaTauri having one spot open, while Williams have not confirmed either driver.

That leaves six seats up for grabs as it stands, with some of the outcomes easier to analyse than others – Alonso's departure from Alpine solves their headache as it leaves a slot open for reserve driver Oscar Piastri.

The Australian was already heavily tipped to take a seat on the grid for 2023 but, with Esteban Ocon and Alonso at Alpine, just where that spot would open was up for debate, with a Williams move touted, but it should now be a fairly easy decision.

For Williams, it could result in the continuation of their partnership with Mercedes. With Alex Albon expected to retain his seat, a replacement for Nicolas Latifi is on the agenda and the leading option may now be Nyck de Vries.

Toto Wolff had already conceded that De Vries, who is on their young driver programme, could be let go in order for him to open avenues in F1, but a seat becoming available at Williams would be perfect for all parties – potentially lining-up De Vries as Lewis Hamilton's long-term successor.

Another option for Williams is Jamie Chadwick, who has dominated the W series and has her eyes set on a seat in F1, though she has expressed doubt as to whether women can cope with the physical demands of the series.

Seats at Haas, Alfa Romeo and AlphaTauri are harder to assess but Mick Schumacher could play a pivotal role for the trio. Yet to be confirmed by Haas for 2023, the young Ferrari driver could make a sidewards move to continue his F1 career.

Given AlphaTauri's relationship with Red Bull, Alfa Romeo seems the more likely option for Schumacher if he was to depart Haas and an opportunity to drive alongside Valtteri Bottas could aid his development – though Alfa Romeo have a young talent of their own waiting in the wings in the form of Theo Pourchaire.

Felipe Drugovich, the runaway leader in F2 this season, and American Logan Sargeant are alternative options within the young driver ranks, while both have additional appeal due to their respective nationalities, Brazil and the United States, both of which are areas of growth for F1.

The break period in the F1 season is usually the time where teams line everything up for the next year, so the next few weeks before the season resumes in Belgium are likely to be extremely busy – and there could be some surprises in store.

Fernando Alonso has agreed a multi-year deal to replace Sebastian Vettel at Aston Martin from the 2023 Formula One season.

Four-time F1 world champion Vettel announced last week he is retiring at the end of the current campaign.

Aston Martin have moved quickly to bring in a replacement, with Alpine driver Alonso – himself a two-time world champion – set to join next year.

"This Aston Martin team is clearly applying the energy and commitment to win, and it is therefore one of the most exciting teams in Formula One today," Alonso said.

"I have known Lawrence and Lance [Stroll] for many years and it is very obvious that they have the ambition and passion to succeed in Formula One.

"I have watched as the team has systematically attracted great people with winning pedigrees, and I have become aware of the huge commitment to new facilities and resources.

"No one in Formula One today is demonstrating a greater vision and absolute commitment to winning, and that makes it a really exciting opportunity for me."

Alonso returned to F1 with Alpine in 2021 after a two-year sabbatical and finished 10th last season, which is also the position he finds himself in midway through 2022.

The Spaniard made his F1 debut in 2001 and won his two world titles in back-to-back years in 2005 and 2006.

Now at the age of 41, Alonso is still as motivated as ever as he prepares to embark on another new chapter with Aston Martin.

"I still have the hunger and ambition to fight to be at the front, and I want to be part of an organisation that is committed to learn, develop and succeed," he said.

"We all appreciate that there is much to be done to get to the front, and that we must apply all our energies in working together to find performance.

"The passion and desire to perform that I have witnessed convince me to maintain my enjoyment and commitment to the sport.

"I intend to win again in this sport and therefore I have to take the opportunities that feel right to me."

Alonso finished eighth at the Hungarian Grand Prix on Sunday to secure his eighth consecutive points finish.

He brings a wealth of experience to Aston Martin, where he will link up with Lance Stroll, the son of executive chairman Lawrence.

"I have known and admired Fernando for many years and it has always been clear that he is a committed winner like me," Lawrence Stroll said.

"I have set out to bring together the best people and develop the right resources and organisation to succeed in this highly competitive sport.

"Those plans are now taking shape at Silverstone. It seemed natural therefore to invite Fernando to be part of the development of a winning team. 

"We very quickly established in our recent conversations that we have the same ambitions and values, and it was logical and easy to confirm our desire to work together."

Sebastian Vettel's retirement announcement ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix has been the biggest talking point on the grid, with the German's departure set to leave a significant void for Aston Martin to fill.

The four-time world champion played an integral part in Red Bull's rise to become an F1 powerhouse, winning back-to-back championships between 2010 and 2013.

Vettel's championships make him an F1 great, with only Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton (both seven) and Juan Manuel Fangio (five) winning more world titles.

In terms of race wins, Vettel is again near the summit with 53 victories, only behind Hamilton (103) and Schumacher (91), while he is one of only five drivers to secure at least 100 podium finishes – alongside Hamilton, Schumacher, Alain Prost and Kimi Raikkonen.

Those regular appearances in the front three have also given him an honour that only Hamilton can equal, with the pair being the only drivers in F1 history to have secured over 3,000 career points – with Vettel having 3,076 ahead of Sunday's Hungarian Grand Prix.

Singapore has been Vettel's favoured venue, with five victories and 195 points, and the Far East has been where Vettel has excelled in qualifying – securing pole position on eight occasions in both Singapore and Japan.

Throughout the course of his career, Vettel has raced for five different teams – starting with Sauber, where he scored points in his only outing for the team and then signed for Toro Rosso – securing his first pole and victory in August 2007 in Italy.

After 25 races with the Italian team, Vettel moved to Red Bull, for whom he appeared in 113 races, with only Mark Webber (129) and Max Verstappen (130 so far) featuring more for the Austrian outfit.

Vettel also boasts the most wins (38), the most pole positions (44) and the most fastest laps (24) for Red Bull.

In 2011, Vettel was on pole position for 15 of 19 races, an F1 record, and he won 13 races in 2013 – a joint-record alongside Schumacher.

Vettel's era of dominance came to an end at the start of F1's hybrid era, finishing fifth in the standings in 2014 with just four podiums from 19 races, and he subsequently joined Ferrari for the 2015 season.

The German continued to struggle, with just three wins and one pole position in his first year with the Italian side – although those wins were the most registered in a single season for Ferrari since Fernando Alonso in 2012 (also three).

Overall, Vettel raced 118 times for Ferrari and amassed 14 race wins, 55 podiums, 12 pole positions and 1,400 points.

Should all go to plan, Vettel's final fling in his F1 career will come in Abu Dhabi, the season finale and his 300th career race.

So far for Aston Martin, he has a single podium, in Azerbaijan in 2021, and has earned 58 points from 32 races.

Sebastian Vettel's hopes of a successful first race since announcing his Formula One retirement suffered a setback as he crashed in third practice for the Hungarian Grand Prix.

The four-time world champion this week confirmed he will end his F1 career at the end of the season.

His move to Aston Martin in 2021 has not delivered the desired results, with Vettel claiming just one podium since his switch from Ferrari.

But Vettel was impressing amid heavy rain at the Hungaroring, only to lose control of his rear tyres and spin into barriers at turn 10.

That saw the session briefly red-flagged before it was brought to a conclusion by the Williams of Nicholas Latifi surprisingly posting the fastest time on intermediate tyres on a drying track.

It is the first time Latifi has been quickest in an F1 practice session.

His team-mate Alexander Albon was third, sandwiching the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc, with the changeable conditions setting the stage for a fascinating qualifying session.

The session was largely defined by Mercedes' struggles for grip. George Russell did find enough to go fifth fastest, but Lewis Hamilton could only manage 11th.

Lewis Hamilton said he has "lost an ally" as he paid tribute to Sebastian Vettel, who will retire at the end of the Formula One season.

Vettel, now racing for Aston Martin, confirmed on Thursday that he would be calling time on his illustrious career.

The German is a four-time world champion, winning all of those titles in consecutive seasons between 2010 and 2013.

That success proceeded Hamilton's dominance of F1, with the Briton winning six of his seven world titles from 2014 onwards.

Two years Vettel's senior, Hamilton is sad to see the 35-year-old call it a day.

"My first feeling is that it is sad he is stopping," Hamilton told reporters ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix.

"The journey I have experienced in this sport, often feeling relatively lonely, Seb has been one of the few people that has made it not feel that way. He stood by me through a lot of things.

"We talk about legends, I don't really like that title but he is one of the greatest people we have seen in this sport and we need more people like him. I am sad because I have lost an ally."

Only Hamilton (103) and F1 great Michael Schumacher (91) have won more races in the format than Vettel (53).

Hamilton also believes Vettel has used his platform for good, saying: "There's no lack of bravery in Sebastian. He has been one of the very, very few drivers in racing history that has stood for much more than himself.

"He's used his voice in things that I've fought for and stood by me, he's taken the knee, he's gone on his own journey and stood on the grid and fought for things that he believed in, and for the greater good.

"I think he's just a really beautiful human being and I'm really grateful to have been here in a time that he was racing.

"Watching his World Championships was impressive. I'm sad to have arrived today and seen the news, but I know whatever he goes and does beyond this is going to be even better."

Hamilton's sentiment was echoed by Fernando Alonso, who competed closely with Vettel during the latter's dominant streak.

The Spaniard said: "Not the news that I want. There were some rumours last year that maybe he stops, but this year it came true.

"An amazing driver, a legend of our sport. I spent so much time and battles with him over my career with him. So I will miss him, and not only as a driver, I think he has very strong values and is a very good human being. I wish him the best and we will miss him."

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc has paid tribute to former team-mate Sebastian Vettel following the announcement that he will retire from Formula One at the end of the season.

Leclerc spent two years alongside Vettel at Ferrari and conceded he was starstruck when they first met, but now considers the four-time world champion to be a friend.

The youngster crashed during the French Grand Prix, and revealed Vettel messaged him to offer his support.

It will be a strange feeling for Leclerc to return in 2023 without Vettel in the paddock, where he has been an ever-present since making his F1 bow in 2007.

"I arrived the first year and I was obviously super impressed and I think I was probably very weird to him because I was shy and didn't know what to say when I was with him," Leclerc said ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix.

"But now he's a friend and he always texts me, like he did after Sunday, and always tried to make me feel better whenever I'm going through a tough time.

"Obviously it's going to be strange to not see Seb inside the paddock. I've learned so much driving with him and he’s always been super nice with me."

Vettel confirmed on Thursday that this would be his last season in F1 and, if everything goes to plan, the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi will be his 300th on the grid.

Defending champion Max Verstappen also hailed Vettel's impact and backed his decision to retire.

"He has achieved so much in this sport that it's fully understandable for him to retire," he told a news conference.

"He's had an amazing career, he's won a lot of races, he's won a lot of championships as well. He's a great ambassador [for] the sport.

"To see him go, it's something that you could see coming, everyone is getting older and at some point, everyone is retiring. It's never nice when that moment arrives but these things happen.

"I think it's important now that he's going to enjoy his life with his family as F1 is such a short period of time in your life, you work so hard to achieve all these things that he has achieved, now it's time to enjoy."

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc has paid tribute to former team-mate Sebastian Vettel following the announcement that he will retire from Formula One at the end of the season.

Leclerc spent two years alongside Vettel at Ferrari and conceded he was starstruck when they first met, but now considers the four-time world champion to be a friend.

The youngster crashed during the French Grand Prix, and revealed Vettel messaged him to offer his support.

It will be a strange feeling for Leclerc to return in 2023 without Vettel in the paddock, where he has been an ever-present since making his F1 bow in 2007.

"I arrived the first year and I was obviously super impressed and I think I was probably very weird to him because I was shy and didn't know what to say when I was with him," Leclerc said ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix.

"But now he's a friend and he always texts me, like he did after Sunday, and always tried to make me feel better whenever I'm going through a tough time.

"Obviously it's going to be strange to not see Seb inside the paddock. I've learned so much driving with him and he’s always been super nice with me."

Vettel confirmed on Thursday that this would be his last season in F1 and, if everything goes to plan, the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi will be his 300th on the grid.

Defending champion Max Verstappen also hailed Vettel's impact and backed his decision to retire.

"He has achieved so much in this sport that it's fully understandable for him to retire," he told a news conference.

"He's had an amazing career, he's won a lot of races, he's won a lot of championships as well. He's a great ambassador [for] the sport.

"To see him go, it's something that you could see coming, everyone is getting older and at some point, everyone is retiring. It's never nice when that moment arrives but these things happen.

"I think it's important now that he's going to enjoy his life with his family as F1 is such a short period of time in your life, you work so hard to achieve all these things that he has achieved, now it's time to enjoy."

Sebastian Vettel says his "best race is still to come" after revealing he will retire from Formula One at the end of this season.

The Aston Martin driver on Thursday revealed he will quit after his 300th F1 Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi in November.

Vettel will end his career as a four-time world champion, with the German great having so far won 53 races and been on the podium 122 times.

The 35-year-old is relishing life after racing, stating: "I believe there is still a race to win."

He said in an Instagram post: "Next to racing, I have grown a family and I love being around them. I have grown other interests outside Formula One. My passion for racing and Formula One comes with lots of time spent away from them, and takes a lot of energy.

"Committing to my passion the way I did and the way I think is right, no longer goes side-by-side with my wish to be a great father and husband. The energy it takes to become one with the car and the team, to chase perfection, takes focus and commitment. 

"My goals have shifted from winning races and fighting for championships to seeing my children grow, passing on my values, helping them up when they fall, listening to them when they need me, not having to say goodbye, and most importantly being able to learn from them and let them inspire me.

"Children are our future, further I feel there is so much to explore and learn about life and about myself.

"Speaking of the future, I feel we live in very decisive times and how we all shape these next years will determine our lives.

"My passion comes with certain aspects that I've learned to dislike. They might be solved in the future, but the will to apply that change has to grow much stronger and has to be leading to action today. Talk is not enough and we cannot afford to wait. There is no alternative, the race is under way.

"My best race is still to come, I believe in moving forwards and moving on. Time is a one-way street and I want to grow with the times. Looking back is only going to slow you down. I look forward to racing down unknown tracks and I will be finding new challenges.

"The marks I left on track will stay until time and rain will wash them away. New ones will be put down. Tomorrow belongs to those shaping today.

"The next corner is in good hands as the new generation has already turned in. I believe there is still a race to win. Farewell and thank you for letting me share the track with you, I loved every bit of it."

Sebastian Vettel will bring an end to his illustrious Formula One career at the end of the season, he revealed on Thursday.

The four-time F1 champion has seen the current campaign shrouded by speculation on his future, with his deal with Aston Martin expiring at the end of the year – and he has now made the decision to step away into retirement.

"I have had the privilege of working with many fantastic people in Formula One over the past 15 years - there are far too many to mention and thank," he said in a statement.

"The decision to retire has been a difficult one for me to take, and I have spent a lot of time thinking about it. At the end of the year I want to take some more time to reflect on what I will focus on next.

"It is very clear to me that, being a father, I want to spend more time with my family. But today is not about saying goodbye.

"Rather, it is about saying thank you – to everyone – not least to the fans, without whose passionate support Formula One could not exist."

Vettel began his F1 career in 2007 with BMW, then moved to Toro Rosso for a two-year stint before stepping up to join Red Bull.

Finishing second in his first season with Red Bull, Vettel then won four consecutive world titles from 2010 to 2013 and left to join Ferrari in 2015, spending six seasons there.

Vettel finished 12th in the drivers' championship in 2021, his first season with Aston Martin, and lies 14th in the standings in 2022 – having picked up just 15 points.

Lawrence Stroll says Aston Martin wanted Sebastian Vettel to continue driving for the team in the 2023 Formula One season.

The four-time world champion announced his retirement on Thursday, with his career set to come to a close on the landmark occasion of his 300th F1 race in Abu Dhabi on November 20.

There has been speculation over Vettel's future throughout the season, with the German in the final year of his Aston Martin contract, and a decision was expected during the mid-season break.

Vettel confirmed ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix this weekend that he has decided to quit despite being offered the chance to stay with Aston Martin.

"I want to thank Sebastian from the bottom of my heart for the great work that he has done for Aston Martin over the past year and a half," Aston Martin executive chairman Stroll said in a statement.

"We made it clear to him that we wanted him to continue with us next year, but in the end he has done what he feels is right for himself and his family, and of course we respect that.

"He has driven some fantastic races for us, and, behind the scenes, his experience and expertise with our engineers have been extremely valuable. 

"He is one of the all-time greats of Formula One, and it has been a privilege to have been able to work with him.

"He will continue to race for us up to and including the 2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which will be his 300th Grand Prix entry. We will give him a fabulous send-off."

Team principal Mike Krack also heaped praise on the 35-year-old.

"Sebastian is a superb driver - fast, intelligent and strategic - and of course we are going to miss those qualities," he said.

"However, we have all learned from him, and the knowledge that we have gained from working with him will continue to benefit our team long after his departure.

"Aston Martin is a great project, with unlimited potential, and the groundwork that Sebastian has done last year, and is still doing this year, is crucial.

"When we become fully competitive - and we will - one of the architects of that future success will be Sebastian, and we will always be grateful to him for that."

Sebastian Vettel will bring an end to his illustrious Formula One career at the end of the season, he revealed on Thursday.

The four-time F1 champion has seen the current campaign shrouded by speculation on his future, with his deal with Aston Martin expiring at the end of the year – and he has now made the decision to step away into retirement.

"I have had the privilege of working with many fantastic people in Formula One over the past 15 years - there are far too many to mention and thank," he said in a statement.

"The decision to retire has been a difficult one for me to take, and I have spent a lot of time thinking about it. At the end of the year I want to take some more time to reflect on what I will focus on next.

"It is very clear to me that, being a father, I want to spend more time with my family. But today is not about saying goodbye.

"Rather, it is about saying thank you – to everyone – not least to the fans, without whose passionate support Formula One could not exist."

Vettel began his F1 career in 2007 with BMW, then moved to Toro Rosso for a two-year stint before stepping up to join Red Bull.

Finishing second in his first season with Red Bull, Vettel then won four consecutive world titles from 2010 to 2013 and left to join Ferrari in 2015, spending six seasons there.

Vettel finished 12th in the drivers' championship in 2021, his first season with Aston Martin, and lies 14th in the standings in 2022 – having picked up just 15 points.

Sebastian Vettel has dismissed speculation linking him with a move to McLaren as "just rumours" as his "clear intention" is to stay with Aston Martin.

Four-time world champion Vettel's contract expires at the end of this season.

With McLaren's Daniel Ricciardo enduring a difficult year, posting just three top-10 finishes to sit 12th in the drivers' standings, there has been talk he could leave the sport, with Vettel touted as a potential replacement.

When asked about Vettel's future last month, Aston Martin boss Mike Krack said: "We were always clear that if he wants to continue, we would like him to stay."

Speaking ahead of the French Grand Prix, the German says there is nothing in talk that he could be on his way to McLaren.

He said: "I think Lando [Norris] has a contract… No, I obviously know some people there, but I think it's just rumours."

The 35-year-old hopes to come to an agreement with Aston Martin before long.

He added: "Well, I'm racing this weekend, and the next one. Then yeah, obviously I've said that at some point, we will start to talk.

"I'm talking to the team; I think there is a clear intention to keep going. We'll see soon where we stand."

Lewis Hamilton has slammed Bernie Ecclestone's support of Russian President Vladimir Putin and declared he is "not with the times."

Ex-Formula One supremo Ecclestone stated during an interview with ITV’s Good Morning Britain on Thursday that he would "take a bullet" for “first-class person” Putin.

When it was put to Ecclestone that thousands of innocent people have been killed in Ukraine following Russia’s invasion, he replied “it wasn't intentional.”

The 91-year-old also said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky should have done more to stop the ongoing war.

Ecclestone’s comments come during a grim week for motorsport, with Nelson Piquet having been condemned for a racist comment made about Hamilton and Red Bull axing reserve driver Juri Vips for a racial slur he used in an online streaming session.

Ecclestone also declared seven-time F1 champion Hamilton should be "happy" that he received an apology from Piquet and ought to have "brushed aside" the Brazilian’s racist slur.

Hamilton responded by referencing Ecclestone and Piquet as "older voices", declaring they have "nothing positive" to contribute.

"We push for action. There needs to be some accountability. What is [the platforms'] goal? We don't need [these voices] anymore," he said during a news conference.

"To hear it from someone who ultimately believes in the war, the killing of millions of people? I can't believe it. They have nothing positive to contribute to where we want to go.

"I have always tried to take the higher road and be respectful. It ties back to - why do we give them a platform? They are not with the times. They are not willing to change. Microaggression in today's world is not healthy."

Sebastian Vettel was among those who spoke out in support of Hamilton in Thursday's media session, addressing the abuse that the British driver has faced throughout his career.

"I think it’s more than just the recent, it’s what he and his family has been through his entire life," he said.

"The abuse was wrong and it was great to see such a response from the F1 community on the matter and towards Lewis.

"There shouldn’t be any room for these kinds of comments. It doesn’t help when there are still these things out here and using inappropriate language. 

"It is important to talk about it because it won’t be gone overnight and we have a responsibility to try and address these issues.

"Kindness matters and people matter. It was bad to see what was going on."

Charles Leclerc is confident Ferrari will be fighting for the win at Silverstone – as long as the team can avoid any further reliability woes.

Power unit issues have led to recent retirements in Spain and Azerbaijan, the last of which resulted in a back-of-the-grid start for the Canadian Grand Prix after taking a third unit of the season.

Those troubles, accompanied by a wrong strategy call in Monaco, have seen Max Verstappen and Red Bull take a commanding lead in both championships – with the defending champion winning four of the past five races.

Ferrari's potential is undeniable, with six pole positions out of nine, but only two have resulted in race wins and the last came in Australia almost three months ago.

In his career overall, Leclerc's 15 poles have returned just four wins for a 27 per cent winning percentage – the second lowest in F1 history among drivers who have won at least one race, behind only Jarno Trulli (25 per cent, one win from four pole positions). 

Despite a 49-point deficit in the driver's championship, third-placed Leclerc remains upbeat and believes reliability will be an issue for all teams to contend with this season.

"No, I'm not worried. I mean, it's a big gap but, but I'm just focusing on the job, and I'm confident that we can take that back," he told Motorsport.

"I think reliability seems to be a concern for everyone this season. And yeah, if we fix our reliability, the performance is there to come back. So already from Silverstone we'll try to get a few points back.

"I really like Silverstone. And hopefully we will be competitive enough to be starting on pole and finally win from pole."

Mercedes' hunting ground

Eight of the past nine British GPs have been won by Mercedes, with the only exception being Sebastian Vettel with Ferrari in 2018, and improvements shown in Canada will provide encouragement for the Silver Arrows.

Lewis Hamilton's second podium finish of the season in third was the highlight in Montreal, but George Russell's consistency continues to stand out, with the British driver finishing in the top five in all nine races in 2022.

A win for Hamilton would be the ninth of his career at Silverstone, setting a new record for the most wins in a single GP – overtaking his eight victories in Hungary and Michael Schumacher's eight wins in France.

Driver market

Away from the track itself, the F1 driver market is starting to heat up as teams outline their plans for the 2023 season, and there are a number on the grid who could be under threat of losing their seats.

Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel are both out of contract at the end of the season – although each could still extend – while Daniel Ricciardo has work to do to impress McLaren to retain his seat despite being tied down for a further year.

Nicholas Latifi at Williams and Mick Schumacher at Haas are also under pressure, with F2 champion and Alpine reserve Oscar Piastri expected to get a chance in 2023. Antonio Giovinazzi has been touted for a return to the grid, too.

Drivers

1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 175
2. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) 129
3. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) 126
4. George Russell (Mercedes) 111
5. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) 102

Constructors

1. Red Bull 304
2. Ferrari 228
3. Mercedes 188
4. McLaren 65
5. Alpine 57

Page 1 of 3
© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.