Driver ratings: The five worst drivers so far this F1 season

Sam Cooper
Carlos Sainz, Logan Sargeant and Esteban Ocon

Carlos Sainz, Logan Sargeant and Esteban Ocon

With three races down, some drivers have already shown promise for the year ahead – while others have shown anything but.

There have been plenty of surprise packages so far in 2023 with the likes of Fernando Alonso and Alex Albon performing above expectation but, at the other end of the scale, there have been those who have been underwhelming.

Some have suffered from some terrible races mixed in with good performances while others have consistently been unimpressive.

Ahead of Formula 1’s return at Baku in a couple of weeks, we’ve taken a look at the five worst-performing drivers of the 2023 season so far in terms of their average rating.

As well as their rating, we’ve calculated their average starting position, average finishing position as well as how many places they have gained/lost over the trio of races so far.

Valtteri Bottas

Points: 4
Drivers’ Standing position: 11th
Average starting position: 15th
Average finish: 12th
Net positions gained/lost: +8
Average rating: 6.2

From the stats alone, it is pretty clear what area of Valtteri Bottas’ weekend has let him down so far this season: qualifying.

He has yet to make it to Q3 and in the most recent race in Melbourne, he started the race from the 19th spot on the grid.

Bottas is no doubt a skilled driver, hence why he has been able climb the order during the race and achieved an average finishing position of 12th including a high of P8 in Bahrain, but he needs to overcome the Saturday problems in order to find some of the form that allowed him to collect 49 points last season.

Carlos Sainz

Points: 20
Drivers’ Standing position: 5th
Average starting position: 4th
Average finish: 7th
Net positions gained/lost: -9
Average rating: 6.0

If there was one word to describe Carlos Sainz’s performance so far in 2023, it is…underwhelming. While his team-mate has had plenty of reliability troubles, Sainz has been relatively free of them which spells bad news for him.

In Bahrain, Sainz looked well off the pace, comfortably trailing Charles Leclerc until the Monaco man retired before being easily passed by a charging Fernando Alonso late on.

He was equally unimpressive in Saudi Arabia and Australia but with one driver often out of action, Ferrari need more than the ‘ok’ performances he is currently putting in.

Sainz has lost a combined nine places across the three races, helped in no small measure by his Australia penalty, but the Spaniard must improve and quickly.

Esteban Ocon

Points: 4
Drivers’ Standing position: 9th
Average starting position: 8th
Average finish: 12th
Net positions gained/lost: -2
Average rating: 6.2

Sometimes good, sometimes awful is the best way to describe Esteban Ocon’s season so far. In Bahrain, he acquired three Ps, unfortunately for the Frenchman those Ps stood for penalties and not points. While the eagerness of his team to work on his car was not his fault, failing to line up in his grid box correctly and speeding in the pit lane most certainly were.

He was much improved in Saudi Arabia, finishing ahead of his team-mate Peirre Gasly but not being able to catch the quicker cars ahead and his race in Melbourne came to an early end when he collided with the other Alpine car.

Despite this rocky start, Ocon is very much within that second bunch of drivers behind the leaders and there is plenty of time left to rise up the table. If that is to be the case, Ocon will have to prove his penalty-laden performance in Bahrain was a one-off and not a sign of things to come. recommends

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Logan Sargeant

Points: 0
Drivers’ Standing position: 20th
Average starting position: 18th
Average finish: 14th
Net positions gained/lost: +8
Average rating: 6.0

Logan Sargeant has yet to really get going and his problems mainly come in qualifying. While Alex Albon has twice made it to Q2 and featured in Q3, Sargeant has yet to get out of the first round.

Giving him a mountain climb, Sargeant to his credit has been able to rise up the grid on occasion but not enough to ever really trouble the points positions.

While the pressure at Williams is less so than it could be elsewhere, Albon’s performances have so far shown that the FW45 has more performance than some may have been anticipating, so Sargeant’s results so far cannot just be written off as one of those things.

His best showing so far came in Bahrain and Sargeant will hope to return to that form and better sooner rather than later before the patience often awarded to a rookie runs out.

Nyck de Vries

Points: 0
Drivers’ Standing position: 19th
Average starting position: 17th
Average finish: 14th
Net positions gained/lost: +9
Average rating: 5.3

If there was a hope that Nyck de Vries would be able to produce a Monza-level performance every time he stepped into an F1 car, that has already been proven somewhat fanciful.

Given his first chance at a long-desired full-time F1 seat, De Vries has done little to show he was deserving of a place any earlier.

Yes the AlphaTauri car is perhaps the poorest of all this season but De Vries is not just being beaten by team-mate Yuki Tsunoda, but currently being outclassed.

Tsunoda, who many suspected would find life against De Vries difficult, has finished ahead of him in every race so far and the Dutchman is one of just two drivers yet to score a point this season.