RACE DEBRIEF

    With the season done and the drivers heading off for their winter breaks, we are looking back on the final Power Rankings standings of the year. So, after an entertaining 2023 campaign, who did the judges believe should crack our top-10?

    How it works

    • Our five-judge panel assessed each driver after every Grand Prix and score them out of 10 according to their performance across the weekend – taking machinery out of the equation

    • Our experts’ scores are then averaged out to produce a race score – with those scores then tallied up across the season on our overall Power Rankings Leaderboard (at the bottom of the page)

    VER post-season.jpg

    It was a record-breaking year for Verstappen, who continues to set the standard for the rest of his competition to match, as he sealed his third consecutive drivers' title. In truth, it was rarely ever in doubt as he dominated from start to finish.

    Verstappen scored an eye catching 19 wins this year, became the first driver to lead over 1,000 laps in a season, and set the record for most consecutive wins, with 10. He also beat Alberto Ascari’s 71-year-old record for the highest win percentage in a season – with 86.36%. A truly one-of-a-kind campaign.

    READ MORE: ‘It’s a big area to improve’ – Verstappen reveals how Red Bull can get even stronger in 2024

    HAM post-season.jpg

    It is a second consecutive season without claiming a victory for Hamilton but that is not for a lack of effort or skill. Even without the win, it is clear that Hamilton is still at the top of his game as he extracted the maximum from a car that was not his favourite.

    He did score pole position with an outstanding lap in Hungary and finished on the podium six times. Hamilton drove so well that a win was possible in a couple of those races, but he just did not have enough. But, if he gets the car he needs to compete, it is clear the seven-time champion will be up for the fight.

    READ MORE: ‘I’m only human’ – Hamilton admits doubting himself during rollercoaster 2023 season

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    Watching Norris battle for top honours this year was great as the Briton showed what he could do when given machinery capable of competing at the sharp end of the field – scoring seven podium finishes including five after the summer break.

    He was openly disappointed by a few qualifying laps that he felt cost him a chance at pole, but he always made up for it in the race, showing his ever-improving race-craft that will surely make him a contender for years to come.

    READ MORE: Norris hails ‘exciting times ahead’ for McLaren after team clinch P4 in constructors’ in Abu Dhabi

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    Alonso described this season as his best in F1, along with the 2012 campaign, and ranking it as better than his two championship-winning years in 2005 and 2006. It is hard to argue against him, as he and Aston Martin shocked the paddock at the start of the year by being the closest challengers to Red Bull.

    The Spaniard chalked up eight podiums this year – six of them in the opening eight races. Unfortunately, Aston Martin’s challenge fell away in the middle part of the year, but they and Alonso seemed to be closer to their best towards the end of the season. If this is a sign of things to come, we cannot wait for 2024.

    READ MORE: ‘We had opportunities’ – Alonso picks out the races he thinks Aston Martin could have won in 2023

    ALB post-season.jpg

    When you look back on the 2023 season, the question that Albon’s performances will raise is did anybody extract more from their car than the Thai racer? He consistently drove the wheels off his FW45, getting into the points at tracks his car did not even suit.

    His highlights this year include his outstanding defence to finish seventh in Canada, and his fourth place qualifying in Zandvoort. But all in all, it was a world class season from Albon, who Williams will be incredibly thankful for as he scored 27 of their 28 points this year, giving them P7 in the championship.

    READ MORE: ‘It’s eye-watering’ – Albon shares the secrets of Verstappen’s unique driving style

    LEC post-season.jpg

    Leclerc had hoped to be battling for the championship when he entered the season, but Ferrari just did not build a car that could challenge Red Bull this year. Yet still, Leclerc was at the top of his game, showing that numerous times over the course of the year.

    Over one lap, he was truly special, starting in Baku when he took pole position for both the Sprint and the race. But he really shone in the final few weeks of the season, as arguably nobody drove better than him. He sealed five consecutive front row starts to end the year, including three pole positions, and three podiums.

    READ MORE: Leclerc labels Ferrari's season ‘disappointing’ as he discusses their chances of catching Red Bull over the winter

    RUS post-season.jpg

    Russell called this his 'worst season ever' as he just did not seem to have the same consistency in results that he had in his first year with Mercedes – scoring just two podiums in Spain and Abu Dhabi. But, having said that, he still showed great pace throughout the campaign.

    Also, when his team needed him the most to seal P2 in the championship at the season-finale he showed what he was capable of doing. It allowed Russell to end a season where he finished eighth in the championship on a high, while also previewing what we could expect from him in 2024.

    READ MORE: Russell describes 2023 season as 'very strange' after a string of 'missed opportunities'

    SAI post-season.jpg

    Sainz will be remembered in history as the driver who stopped Red Bull from winning every race in 2023 after he pulled off that stunning victory in Singapore. It was the highlight of what was a particularly good season from the Spaniard, who showed that he had the pace and the race-craft to fight with the best.

    What was just as impressive was the consistency he showed when Ferrari did not have the pace earlier in the year. He routinely maximised the result when others had faster cars and were getting podiums. Those results kept Ferrari ticking along and Sainz will hope that it will serve as a springboard to having a better 2024.

    READ MORE: The reinvigoration of 'Smooth Operator' Carlos Sainz – How the Ferrari man stepped up after the summer break

    PIA post-season.jpg

    Piastri enjoyed one of the great rookie seasons of all time and arguably the best since Hamilton’s in 2007, scoring two podiums in Japan and Qatar – where he also scored the Sprint pole and victory.

    But what impressed the judges the most about Piastri was the growth he showed throughout the year. He also rarely seemed to make mistakes, which is even more impressive when you consider the fact that he had not driven many of the tracks on the calendar. We cannot wait to see what else there is to come from the Australian.

    ANALYSIS: Why McLaren moved to lock down Piastri with a fresh contract extension

    GAS post-season.jpg

    As first seasons go with a new team, Pierre Gasly’s with Alpine was quite good, with the highlight being his podium in Zandvoort. But it was not all easy as, even though he scored six top-10 finishes prior to the summer break, he admitted he was still settling into his new surroundings.

    Gasly's performances then went to a new level after the month-long hiatus and, even though the results did not always show it, he was driving at a high level. His fifth place qualifying in Las Vegas was extremely impressive, as was his drive to sixth in Austin and his seventh in Brazil. It was a very good start to life in blue.

    READ MORE: ‘There has to be a fun element too’ – Golf star Rory McIlroy on why he picked Alpine as his latest investment

    Final Leaderboard

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