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TPOE’s 2023 F1 Driver Ranking

The 2023 season is over and with that, it’s time to take a look at how well the drivers did over the course of the year....

The 2023 season is over and with that, it’s time to take a look at how well the drivers did over the course of the year. We took a look at each driver’s performance during the mid-season break and added to them for this list to avoid recency bias as much as possible.

Additionally, Nyck de Vries will not be counted in this list as he was no longer present in the latter half of the year so the ranking would remain the same (21) for the same reasons. Liam Lawson, however, will be included.

Let’s get into it.

21. Logan Sargeant

Despite how much confidence everyone at Williams seems to have in Logan Sargeant, he just hasn’t delivered any results. Yes, he scored a single championship point, but it was thanks to other’s disqualification. He’s also never once outqualified his teammate, Alex Albon, or finished ahead of him in a race. He did show improvement towards the latter half of the season, shrinking the gap to Albon more than we’d probably like to think, but still, with only one point compared to Albon’s 27, he hasn’t impressed much further and so a backmarker he remains.  

Mid-Season Rank – 20

Highest Finish – P10* (Austin)

Points – 1

Race: Alex Albon 18-3 Logan Sargeant**

Qualifying: Alex Albon 22-0 Logan Sargeant

 

*After disqualifications

**Neither finished 2023 Japanese Grand Prix

20. Kevin Magnussen

Kevin hasn’t had a good year, and his teammate, Nico Hulkenberg, has made that clearer. He could barely get into Q3 though at least when he did, he earned points (on three occasions for a total of three points) with one exception in Las Vegas. Aside from that however, Kevin really hasn’t made much of an impression this year. He has only three championship points to Hulkenberg’s nine, which isn’t impressive on either of their parts, but at least it feels that Hulkenberg is able to extract something from the uncompetitive VF-23.

Mid-Season Rank – 19

Highest Finish – P10 (Saudi Arabia, Miami, Singapore)

Points – 3

Race: Kevin Magnussen 9-13 Nico Hulkenberg

Qualifying: Kevin Magnussen 7-15 Nico Hulkenberg

19. Zhou Guanyu

Neither Alfa Romeo driver had a car that gave them the ability to show off their skills, the problem in Zhou’s case is that he isn’t even that impressive against his teammate, Valtteri Bottas. The Chinese driver has been outqualified 15 times as well as being outdone by Bottas during the race 12 times. His six championship points only put him on par with Daniel Ricciardo who had less than half of the races Zhou had. While he was on par with Bottas in the early half of the season, he has slipped as the season went on.

Mid-Season Rank – 17

Highest Finish – P9 (Australia, Spain, Qatar)

Points – 6

Race: Valtteri Bottas 12-9 Zhou Guanyu*

Qualifying: Valtteri Bottas 15-6 Zhou Guanyu**

 

*Neither driver finished Sao Paulo Grand Prix

**Bottas DSQ from British Grand Prix for failing to supply fuel sample

18. Liam Lawson

Lawson only had five races to show what he had, and he certainly impressed especially considering the circumstances in which he joined the grid. He managed to outqualify Yuki Tsunoda twice and finished ahead of him during the race three times though Yuki didn’t start at the Italian Grand Prix. Ultimately, he isn’t placed higher simply because we didn’t get to see much of him and placing him higher may be buying into the hype rather than the results. However, in his short stint, he did manage to grab 2 championship points in an uncompetitive AlphaTauri thanks to strong stint in Singapore.

Mid-Season Rank – N/A

Highest Finish – P9 (Singapore)

Points – 2

Race: Liam Lawson 3-1 Yuki Tsunoda*

Qualifying: Liam Lawson 2-3 Yuki Tsunoda

 

*Yuki didn’t start the Italian Grand Prix

17. Daniel Ricciardo

Again, Ricciardo hasn’t had many races so it’s difficult to say how well he’s done in 2023 especially considering his return was marred by injury. However, when he showed up, he often found himself performing better than his days at McLaren, especially in Mexico. The only thing that has to be remembered is that Ricciardo has had the benefit of an upgraded car upon his return from injury. Even so, he has stayed close to Yuki in qualifying, though still behind the Japanese driver 3-4. The same can be said in the race. It’s a promising start to his return.

Mid-Season Rank – 18

Highest Finish – P7 (Mexico)

Points – 6

Race: Daniel Ricciardo 3-4 Yuki Tsunoda

Qualifying: Daniel Ricciardo 3-4 Yuki Tsunoda

16. Valtteri Bottas

Much like Zhou, Valtteri hasn’t been able to showcase his skills in the Alfa Romeo, but in saying that, he has roundly beaten his teammate, as mentioned above. The problem is that it has been a very uneven, if not inconsistent, season for Valtteri, but really that could describe Alfa Romeo’s season generally.

Mid-Season Rank – 16

Highest Finish – P8 (Bahrain, Qatar)

Points – 10

Race: Valtteri Bottas 12-9 Zhou Guanyu

Qualifying: Valtteri Bottas 15-6 Zhou Guanyu

15. Lance Stroll

Stroll is not well liked amongst fans, and it often clouds people’s judgement of his performance. He got points fairly consistently, only missing out nine times over the course of the season. The problem starts to appear when comparing him to his teammate, Fernando Alonso, who thoroughly beat Stroll. So while he has a solid amount of points compared to those around him on this list, he could, or even should, have more points considering the machinery he’s in.

Mid-Season Rank ­– 13

Highest Finish – P4 (Australia)

Points – 74

Race: Fernando Alonso 17-4 Lance Stroll*

Qualifying: Fernando Alonso 19-3 Lance Stroll

 

*Stroll missed Singapore due to a crash in qualifying

14. Nico Hulkenberg

Hulkenberg has been able to pull of some impressive performances in qualifying, but the races haven’t been as impressive. Is that all Hulkenberg’s fault? No, the VF-23’s severe tyre gradation has often left him falling to the back of the grid in race trim, but that has also meant that he hasn’t been able to show off as much he’d like. He’s here on this list because he has so roundly beaten his teammate, though as the season went on, those banger qualifying performances were fewer and farther between.

Mid-Season Rank – 11

Highest Finish – P7 (Australia)

Points – 9

Race: Kevin Magnussen 9-13 Nico Hulkenberg

Qualifying: Kevin Magnussen 7-15 Nico Hulkenberg

13. Yuki Tsunoda

Yuki Tsunoda has beaten all three of his teammates to various degrees, which is an achievement in itself, but he still remains inconsistent on his own. His fiery nature is what we love about him as a personality, but it causes costly mistakes and good points have been thrown away because of it. No one is exempt from poor decisions, but they happen a little too often for Tsunoda to get a higher position on this list.

Mid-Season Rank – 12

Highest Finish – P8 (Austin, Abu Dhabi)

Points – 17

Race: Nyck de Vries 2-8 Yuki Tsunoda

Qualifying: Nyck de Vries 2-8 Yuki Tsunoda

 

Race: Daniel Ricciardo 3-4 Yuki Tsunoda

Qualifying: Daniel Ricciardo 3-4 Yuki Tsunoda

 

Race: Liam Lawson 3-1 Yuki Tsunoda

Qualifying: Liam Lawson 2-3 Yuki Tsunoda

12. Sergio Perez

How to explain this one. Perez took home seven podiums and two wins. Normally, that’s more than enough to secure a high place on this list, but we know the potential of the RB19, and Perez has been beaten by his teammate as thoroughly as Albon has beaten Sargeant. On the track he has collided with several drivers when making desperate moves prompting several drivers (like Albon and Norris) to call him out on it. His qualifying performance has been atrocious not just in comparison to Verstappen. At no point should he ever have not made it to Q3 considering his machinery. So, despite the podiums and the wins, Perez has not done enough to justify a higher position and has been severely hampered by sub-par qualifying sessions.

Mid-Season Ranking – 10

Highest Finish – P1 (Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan)

Points – 285

Race: Max Verstappen 20-2 Sergio Perez

Qualifying: Max Verstappen 20-2 Sergio Perez

11. Esteban Ocon

Much like Alpine this year, Ocon is caught somewhere in no-man’s land. The car is good, but not great, showing flashes of brilliance, like Ocon himself who managed to grab a podium in Monaco. He’s just had a few more mistakes than necessary and his qualifying performance hasn’t matched his teammate, Pierre Gasly, though he has outdone him during the race. He’s also DNF’d six times and while some weren’t his fault, others certainly have.

Mid-Season Rank – 14

Highest Finish – P3 (Monaco)

Points – 58

Race: Esteban Ocon 10-9 Pierre Gasly*

Qualifying: Esteban Ocon 8-14 Pierre Gasly

 

*Both drivers DNF’d in Australia, Britain, and Hungary.

10. Oscar Piastri

It has been a tremendous rookie season for Oscar Piastri with two podiums and even a sprint race win. Piastri has a lot of promise, but this year there were also clearly some things he still needed to learn. The Australian has even admitted that nursing the tyres for longer stints is something he needs to work on. He has done a decent job keeping up with his teammate but it just goes to show that he still has plenty to learn to close that gap even further. A great debut.

Mid-Season Rank – 9

Highest Finish – P2 (Qatar)

Points – 97

Race: Lando Norris 17-5 Oscar Piastri

Qualifying: Lando Norris 15-7 Oscar Piastri

9. Pierre Gasly

Pierre Gasly has been just that bit more consistent than his teammate, Esteban Ocon, as well as being more solid in qualifying. Other than that though, Gasly faces the same issues as Ocon, the A523. So he stays in the middle of the list because that’s just where Alpine are, but both drivers are doing the best they can with what they’ve been given, Gasly has just done a little better.

Mid-Season Rank – 15

Highest Finish – P3 (Netherlands)

Points – 62

Race: Esteban Ocon 10-9 Pierre Gasly

Qualifying: Esteban Ocon 8-14 Pierre Gasly

8. George Russell

George Russell has admitted himself that it has been one his worst seasons in terms of results. As a qualifier, he’s neck in neck with Lewis Hamilton, a phenomenal achievement. Problems start to appear once it comes to the race. For example, Russell was on track for a podium, if not the win, in Singapore, but he hit the wall on his own accord. He had no pressure from behind and he made a costly mistake. Unfortunately for the Briton, it wasn’t the only time.

Mid-Season Rank – 5

Highest Finish – P3 (Spain, Abu Dhabi)

Points – 175

Race: Lewis Hamilton* 15-6 George Russell

Qualifying: Lewis Hamilton 11-11 George Russell

 

*Hamilton was DSQ in Austin.

7. Alex Albon

Alex Albon has really proved what a quality driver he is at Williams. His rise seems to have coincided with Williams’ own, however, that also means his peaks and troughs often arrive alongside the car’s. Albon doesn’t waste an opportunity when he’s at a track that the car favours and almost always extracts the maximum. Despite some poor decisions, like in Australia, Albon has done the best he can with what he’s been given and has absolutely dominated his teammate, Logan Sargeant.

Mid-Season Rank – 6

Highest Finish – P7 (Canada, Italy)

Points – 27

Race: Alex Albon 18-3 Logan Sargeant

Qualifying: Alex Albon 22-0 Logan Sargeant

6. Carlos Sainz

Carlos has remained remarkably consistent throughout the year, hardly ever finishing below P5 while grabbing podiums here and there, but his finest achievement was his clever win in Singapore. Both Ferrari drivers have been cursed with an inconsistent car that forces them to think outside of the box. Others might’ve have more impressive results, but the results achieved by Carlos and his teammate, Charles Leclerc, have been through ingenuity rather than pure pace. Also, being the only non-Red Bull driver to win a race surely counts for something.

Mid-Season Rank – 7

Highest Finish – P1 (Singapore)

Points – 200

Race: Carlos Sainz 9-11 Charles Leclerc*

Qualifying: Carlos Sainz 7-15 Charles Leclerc

 

*Sainz DNS at Qatar, Charles was DSQ in Austin.

5. Charles Leclerc

The Ferrari drivers are incredibly close together and despite Carlos winning in Singapore, Charles has proved in the latter half of the season that he can be just as clever with the strategy to retain as many points as possible, as proven in Abu Dhabi. He did not start the season well, but has proved after a floor upgrade that he is still the quickest driver at Ferrari.

Mid-Season Rank – 8

Highest Finish – P2 (Las Vegas, Abu Dhabi)

Points – 206

Race: Carlos Sainz 9-11 Charles Leclerc

Qualifying: Carlos Sainz 7-15 Charles Leclerc

4. Lando Norris

When the car is fast, so is Lando Norris. Once the McLaren came to life in the latter part of the season, so did Lando. He won Driver of the Day on numerous occasions which highlights either his huge fanbase or his series of impressive drives. Either way, Lando has shown that he has what it takes to be a top driver and should be commended for it.

Mid-Season Rank – 4

Highest Finish – P2 (Britain, Hungary, Singapore, Japan, Brazil)

Points – 205

Race: Lando Norris 17-5 Oscar Piastri

Qualifying: Lando Norris 15-7 Oscar Piastri

3. Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso had a very strong first half of the season before Aston Martin’s upgrades sent them backwards. On a pure results basis, Alonso was more inconsistent in the latter half of the season compared to Hamilton, but you can’t ignore the eight podiums the Spaniard earned. His DNFs in Austin and Mexico weren’t his fault and even when the car was less competitive, he only finished outside of the points in Singapore. Alonso proved this year, beyond a doubt, that age is just a number.

Mid-Season Rank – 2

Highest Finish – P2 (Monaco, Canada, Netherlands)

Points – 206

Race: Fernando Alonso 17-4 Lance Stroll

Qualifying: Fernando Alonso 19-3 Lance Stroll

2. Lewis Hamilton

Once again, it’s a toss-up between Hamilton and Alonso for second best. Hamilton was remarkably consistent, only finishing outside of the points on one occasion in Qatar (if you don’t count the DSQ in Austin). He managed to grab six podiums to his teammates’ two and roundly beat Russell in race results. The problem is that it hasn’t been a great qualifying year for Hamilton, whether that’s due to the car is difficult to say, but on the occasions where he did qualify poorly, Russell was able to put the car into the top six, suggesting it was Hamilton. Despite his struggles with the car, Hamilton did his utmost to get the best result possible. 

Mid-Season Rank – 3

Highest Finish – P2 (Australia, Austin [DSQ], Spain, Mexico)

Points – 234

Race: Lewis Hamilton 15-6 George Russell

Qualifying: Lewis Hamilton 11-11 George Russell

1. Max Verstappen

What needs to be said here? This was Max Verstappen’s year and he proved what a talent he is. With three Championships under his belt now, we can now start talking about his status amongst the greats in the sport. He and Red Bull have broken so many F1 records in 2023 that it’s nigh impossible to put any other driver in this position.

Mid-Season Rank – 1

Highest Finish – P1 (All of them except for Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan, and Singapore)

Points – 575

Race: Max Verstappen 20-2 Sergio Perez

Qualifying: Max Verstappen 20-2 Sergio Perez

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