Formula 1 good month, bad month, January 2022

James Elson charts the ups and downs of the F1 circus

Good month

Going up Toto Wolff meme

Wolff at the door

Toto Wolff was briefly possessed by the spirit of the average F1 fan as Hamilton finally passed Verstappen in Brazil – cameras caught the moment perfectly. The image went viral with Merc devotees goading Red Bull rivals.


Red Bull’s magic tape

The Milton Keynes kids were worried their rear aerofoils might struggle for structural integrity in Mexico City’s thin air, but some sticky tape proved to be just the ticket as Max blasted round the outside of the Mercs and ruined the race for everyone, nullifying it after one corner anyway.


Going up Shaq O Neal car with horns at US Grand Prix

Big Shaq’s wheels

In an incredible upgrade from the Crypto Truck, NBA star Shaquille O’Neal turned up to present the Texas trophy in what can only be described as a Mad Max Sunday runaround.


Going up Christian Horner

Horner’s nest

Big hand for Christian ‘We do our talking on track’ Horner – he never misses a chance to lampoon a member of Red Bull’s junior team. “We got Tsunoda’d,” he said postqualifying in Mexico.


Going up Ayao Komatsu

Ayao Komatsu

Haas chief engineer Ayao Komatsu cut in beautifully via radio to tell Mazepin he was, indeed, “not having a laugh” when instructing the ‘RAF’ driver to stay put in Mexico Q1.


Bad month

Faltering Bottas

Quintessential Bottas in Mexico – snatches pole after just the right amount of Quaker Oats, doesn’t do his job off the line and lets Verstappen past, gets nerfed out at the first corner, then snags fastest lap, preventing a Red Bull point, but not even getting one for himself, finishing a very Sauber-esque 15th. Hinwil must be salivating.


Going down Valtteri Bottas US helmet

Special edition helmets

Well done to those who didn’t have special edition helmets in the US. Not sure we need more variations on the standard lids with those great Land of the Free slogans like ‘Route 66!’, ‘America!’, ‘Hey!’, ‘Burger!’


Going down Daniel Ricciardo in straw hat

Ricciardo’s breaking point

What was worse? Ricciardo’s fake Texas accent or the desertion of his famously deft deceleration abilities at Mexico’s first corner?


Nando’s nowhere (in qualifying)

The self-proclaimed greatest driver ever has never actually been a great qualifier (or that good in the wet for that matter), and he suffered possibly his nadir of the season by getting knocked out in Mexico’s Q1. Did score a mighty ninth on Sunday though.


Going down Esteban Ocon

Ocon elimination

More Prost-like stuff from Ocon in Mexico City, eliminating two competitors in 0.5sec at the start en route to a scintillating 13th place.