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TPOE’s 2023 Mid-Season F1 Driver Ranking

We're halfway through the 2023 F1 season, so which drivers have done the best and worst?...

The 2023 season has been dominated by Max Verstappen, but behind him it couldn’t be closer. From race to race, the pack behind P1 is constantly shifting but which drivers handled it the best and which have stumbled?

These rankings are based on each driver’s results while taking into account the context of each driver’s car and the position of their teammate.

Despite the focus on results, this list is still subjective and isn’t the definitive ranking of each driver.

21. Nyck de Vries

Nyck de Vries lost his job for a reason. Quite simply, he wasn’t close to his teammate’s performance. He only outqualified Yuki Tsunoda once during his stint at AlphaTauri and his deficit to his teammate was consistently about 0.5s behind. He didn’t score a single point during any race and had a variety of rookie mistakes that, considering his experience in various other racing series, were too frequent.

It might be like beating a dead horse, but de Vries unfortunately did not perform to expectations.

Best Finish: P12 (Monaco Grand Prix)

Worst Finish: P18 (Canadian Grand Prix)

Average Finish: P16 (including DNFs)

20. Logan Sargeant

Sargeant is a rookie paired with a great talent at Williams in the form of Alex Albon, which is making his performance seem worse than it otherwise would be, but frankly he has been completely lacklustre this season having failed to achieve any championship points. There have been several explanations for his lack of points from Williams management, but ultimately the results speak for themselves and there simply isn’t much to discuss otherwise. He has had bright spots like the British Grand Prix, and he certainly does have potential to score points, but we will have to see if he continues to improve in the second half of 2023.

Best Finish: P11 (British Grand Prix)

Worst Finish: P20 (Miami Grand Prix)

Average Finish: P17 (including DNFs)

19. Kevin Magnussen

Kevin may have been a little under the radar thanks to all the attention on de Vries, but make no mistake, Magnussen has had a shocking 2023. Granted the Haas has terrible race pace due to high tyre degradation, but he isn’t able to do well in qualifying either. His one qualifying standout was Miami in which he earned P4 before grabbing a point at the end of the race. He also managed a point in Saudi Arabia, but that has been it so far. He is also consistently off the pace of his teammate, Nico Hulkenberg, who has outqualified him 11 times in 15 races (including Sprints).

Best Finish: P10 (Saudi Arabian and Miami Grands Prix)

Worst Finish: P19 (Monaco Grand Prix)

Average Finish: P15 (including DNFs)

18. Daniel Ricciardo

It’s difficult to place Ricciardo as he’s only had two races (three if you count the Belgian Sprint Race). However, he’s already shown better pace than de Vries whom he replaced and Magnussen despite driving the slowest car on the grid.

Best Finish: P10 (Belgium Sprint Race)

Worst Finish: P16 (Belgium Grand Prix)

Average Finish: P13

17. Zhou Guanyu

Alfa Romeo hasn’t been very consistent this year and Guanyu has taken home as many points as his teammate, and both have scored points in two races. Guanyu is lower on this list because he has one DNF compared to his teammates zero but has kept up with his teammate in qualifying placing ahead of Valtteri Bottas seven times to eight.

Best Finish: P9 (Australian and Spanish Grands Prix)

Worst Finish: P19 (Austrian Sprint Race)

Average Finish: P14 (including DNFs)

16. Valtteri Bottas

Bottas has had an underwhelming season but has had some better qualifying performances than his teammate and hasn’t had a DNF so far, placing him just ahead of Guanyu.  

Best Finish: P8 (Bahrain Grand Prix)

Worst Finish: P20 (Austrian Sprint Race)

Average Finish: P14

15. Pierre Gasly

Gasly hasn’t performed much worse than his teammate especially considering the state of the Alpine team this year. But he has been outqualified by Ocon eight to six and often has to perform recovery drives to make up for his poor qualifying.

Best Finish: P3 (Belgian Sprint Race)

Worst Finish: P15 (Austrian Sprint Race)

Average Finish: P12 (including DNFs)

14. Esteban Ocon

Ocon has had some highs this season, likehis podium at Monaco, but outside of that performance, he hasn’t managed to qualify ahead of P7 and has finished outside of the points more often than inside. But he has remained quite consistent when he hasn’t DNF’d taking home several P8’s, P7’s, and P9’s.

Best Finish: P3 (Monaco Grand Prix)

Worst Finish: P18 (Azerbaijan Sprint Race)

Average Finish: P12 (including DNFs)

13. Lance Stroll

Stroll has had some good performances, but considering what his teammate, Fernando Alonso, can do in the same machinery, it isn’t very impressive. He’s finished out of the points four times versus his teammates one and has only outqualified his teammate once. Considering what we know the Aston Martin to be capable of, his results are lacklustre.

Best Finish: P4 (Australian Grand Prix + Austrian Sprint Race)

Worst Finish: P14 (British Grand Prix)

Average Finish: P10 (including DNFs)

12. Yuki Tsunoda

Despite having the slowest car on the grid, Tsunoda has constantly been on the edge of points. Not to say that he hasn’t grabbed points, he’s grabbed the only three points AlphaTauri have, but despite the lack of the results, he has been proving his worth to the team and getting the absolute best out of a slow car.

Best Finish: P10 (Australian, Azerbaijan, and Belgian Grands Prix)

Worst Finish: P19 (Austrian Grand Prix)

Average Finish: P14 (including DNFs)

11. Nico Hulkenberg

Similar to Tsunoda, Hulkenberg has been able to put that Haas where it shouldn’t be, especially in qualifying. Putting that car in P2 at Canada was amazing, granted he couldn’t keep the car there due to Haas’ horrific tyre degradation, but this wasn’t quite a one off. He’s managed to qualify in P10 three times, P8 twice, and P4 once. His race results are more so due to the car rather than Hulkenberg, but he did manage to improve from P10 to P7 in Australia as well. Overall, a very good comeback year for Hulkenberg.

Best Finish: P6 (Austrian Sprint Race)

Worst Finish: P18 (Belgium Grand Prix)

Average Finish: P14 (including DNFs)

10. Sergio Perez

This may seem harsh considering that Perez has won a few races, but that’s exactly why he so low, because he should be performing much better, particularly in qualifying. Considering the machinery he’s in, he should never be qualifying outside of the top ten, but it’s happened six times. Granted, he usually recovers into the top ten, but considering his teammate has never finished off the podium, Perez’s inconsistencies are holding him back from a higher spot.

Best Finish: P1 (Saudi Arabian and Azerbaijan Grands Prix + Azerbaijan Sprint Race)

Worst Finish: P16 (Monaco Grand Prix)

Average Finish: P5 (including DNFs)

9. Oscar Piastri

Piastri is easily the best rookie on the grid and the best rookie we’ve seen for a few years. While his performances from the British Grand Prix onwards were astounding when paired with an upgraded McLaren, he did struggle during the early part of the season. Granted, the McLaren was far from the best car during that time, and he did manage to keep up with his teammate Lando Norris, but he has been outqualified by him 12-3 (including Sprint Shootouts). It’s clear that he’s a promising talent, but he is still a rookie and as such, makes rookie mistakes on occasion. However, this year has been a very good debut for the Australian.

Best Finish: P2 (Belgian Sprint Race)

Worst Finish: P19 (Miami Grand Prix)

Average Finish: P12 (including DNFs)

8. Charles Leclerc

This may be a contentious spot for Charles Leclerc but consider this: while he has taken home Ferrari’s only podiums, he hasn’t been consistent. He’s finished outside of the points on two occasions at Spain and the Austrian Sprint Race, and he’s DNF’d twice – once in Bahrain and once in Australia. There were also the mixed condition races and qualifying sessions that saw him struggle for performance (compare his two performances in Austria where in the mixed conditions of the sprint scored his worst finish in P12, while the next day he took P2). Despite the podiums, Leclerc has not had a great first half of the season.

Best Finish: P2 (Azerbaijan Sprint Race + Austrian Grand Prix)

Worst Finish: P12 (Austrian Sprint Race)

Average Finish: P8 (including DNFs)

7. Carlos Sainz

Sainz hasn’t had the highs of his teammate Leclerc, but he has been far more consistent this season. Not to say he has been perfect, far from it, but he has only finished outside of the points only once in Australia after his poor judgement on the Safety Car restart. That was a poor performance that hasn’t been replicated since, though an argument could be made at the Belgian Grand Prix, but that was a turn one racing incident. He has outqualified Leclerc six times to nine which is a point in Leclerc’s favour, but he’s only DNF’d once and has brought home points every race except one.

Ultimately, where you put these two in the rankings depends on what you value more – consistent results or highest position achieved.

Best Finish: P3 (Austrian Sprint Race)

Worst Finish: P12 (Australian Grand Prix)

Average Finish: P7 (including DNFs)

6. Alex Albon

Albon has had a great year and shown that he is a formidable talent, even in a car like the Williams. He consistently is able to put that car where it isn’t supposed to be, and considering the performance deficit, he has been more impressive than both Ferrari drivers. This is only highlighted when compared to his teammate Logan Sargeant’s results. While he is a rookie, he still hasn’t been able to consistently appear in the top ten on tracks suited to the Williams which is something Albon can do.

Best Finish: P7 (Canadian Grand Prix)

Worst Finish: P16 (Spanish Grand Prix)

Average Finish: P10 (including DNFs)

5. George Russell

Russell has had a solid start to the season. He’s kept up with his teammate for the most part having been outqualified by Lewis Hamilton only eight times to seven. Unfortunately, he has DNF’d twice and has qualified well out of position five times compared to Hamilton’s two. There have been some impressive drives and recoveries, but while a recovery drive is impressive to watch, Russell shouldn’t be in that position in the first place. But again, he’s never finished outside of the points unless he DNF’d.

Best Finish: P3 (Spanish Grand Prix)

Worst Finish: P8 (Azerbaijan Grand Prix + Austrian and Belgian Sprint Race)

Average Finish: P8 (including DNFs)

4. Lando Norris

Norris was hampered by the car during the very beginning of the season, but as soon as he was given a fast car, he was delivering results. He hasn’t DNF’d once, he’s outqualified his teammate at every circuit except one. Even when the car was sub-par, he managed to qualify much higher than was thought possible. While he has finished P17 five times, each of those instances he had qualified much higher and was hampered by the early McLaren’s race pace.  

Best Finish: P2 (British and Hungarian Grands Prix)

Worst Finish: P17 (Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Miami, and Spanish Grands Prix + Azerbaijan Sprint Race)

Average Finish: P10

3. Lewis Hamilton

While he may be complaining on the radio about the car, Hamilton hasn’t once finished outside of the points (in a regular race) nor has he DNF’d. He has had a few blips in qualifying with a P18 during the Austrian Sprint Shootout, but he recovered into the top ten. If P10 is a driver’s worst result in a season and they’ve grabbed four podiums, then it’s been a fairly solid season so far.

Best Finish: P2 (Australian and Spanish Grands Prix)

Worst Finish: P10 (Austrian Sprint Race)

Average Finish: P5

2. Fernando Alonso

With six podiums in 15 races (including Sprints), Alonso has shown that despite his age he is still a mega talent. The only time he didn’t earn any points was in the Belgian Sprint Race, his only DNF of the season. He has outqualified his teammate 12 times to Stroll’s three and consistently improves on his qualifying position in the race. A tremendous first half of the season, even with the Aston Martin lagging behind towards the latter half.

Best Finish: P2 (Monaco and Canadian Grands Prix)

Worst Finish: P9 (Hungarian Grand Prix)

Average Finish: P6 (including DNFs)

1. Max Verstappen

How could it be anyone else? Verstappen has performed a racing masterclass this season winning 10 out of 12 Grands Prix. There is still another half of the season to go, but no one is catching Verstappen considering his most dominate races sees him 22 seconds ahead of everyone else.

Best Finish: P1 (Bahrain, Australia, Miami, Monaco, Spanish, Canadian, Austrian, British, Hungarian, and Belgian Grands Prix + Austrian and Belgian Sprint Races)

Worst Finish: P3 (Azerbaijan Sprint Race)

Average Finish: P1

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