Revealed: Eight drivers most glad the F1 2023 season is over

Sam Cooper
Charles Leclerc, Lewis Hamilton and Daniel Ricciardo

Charles Leclerc, Lewis Hamilton and Daniel Ricciardo have all had difficult years.

While the likes of Max Verstappen celebrated long into the night, there were more than a few drivers happy to see the back of 2023.

Car troubles, performance issues and downright bad luck have afflicted a number of drivers this year and with the dust settling in Abu Dhabi, they will look forward for a hopefully better year in 2024.

Here are eight drivers happy that the 2023 campaign is finally over.

Lewis Hamilton and George Russell

Another year, another season of the Mercedes drivers tearing their hair out because of the car. The W14 may be a more user friendly vehicle that its older brother but that is of small comfort to anyone with the Silver Arrows logo on their chest.

For Lewis Hamilton, it was an improved year with a P3 finish in the championship but for a man with seven world titles, that is hardly going to cut it. 2023 is another winless year for the record-breaker and he will be hoping the W15 is nothing like what has come before.

For George Russell, it was his self-confessed worst season in F1 as, like the car, he never really found his groove.

Sergio Perez

It seems odd to put Sergio Perez on this list considering he finished a career-high of P2 but it is the context around the year that makes him a valid inclusion.

A suggestion of a title fight was on the cards after the first four races but come Miami and Verstappen wrestled control of the title and never looked back.

Perez scored just under half as many points as Verstappen did in 2023, clearly demonstrating just how far ahead the Dutchman was of his team-mate.

In a more competitive year, there would surely have been more pressure on Perez’s place within the team and he will need to perform better in 2024 if he has any chance of surviving the whole season.

Daniel Ricciardo

Unfortunate is perhaps the best way to sum up Daniel Ricciardo’s 2023. An enforced sabbatical allowed him to have some much needed time off to begin the season but soon enough that itch to get racing came back to him.

But when he did get back into the AlphaTauri seat, his return lasted just two races before a hand injury at Zandvoort saw him confined to the sidelines once again.

With Lawson performing admirably in his absence, Ricciardo was no doubt itching to get back once again but on his return he has been hit with some bad luck, most recently getting a tear off strip stuck in his car in Abu Dhabi.

2023 was very much stop start for the Honey Badger and he will be hoping for a smoother time of it in 2024.

Charles Leclerc

The Ferrari man ended 2023 with 102 points fewer than he did in 2022 and it seemed for the first time that the constant disappointment is beginning to take its toll.

He started the season with two retirements in the first three races and although he returned with a podium in Baku, that was to be a rare occurrence throughout the season. In comparison, at the same stage last year he had already won two races and looked a title contender.

To make matters worse, Carlos Sainz improved to become the only non-Red Bull driver to win a race.

Leclerc will want big changes over the winter break and will hope for a car that can finally match his talents. recommends

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Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg

Just like the Mercedes pair, the Haas duo will be hoping 2024 brings better fortunes.

Nico Hulkenberg’s full-time return to F1 was by no means a failure and his qualifying performances begged the question why he was left on the sidelines so long, but the VF-23’s inability to protect its tyres meant Hulkenberg could have put it on pole and would have still struggled to keep it within the points.

The German ended the year on nine points when his performances deserved so much more.

For Kevin Magnussen, it was a surprising step backwards after his own comeback season in 2022. Just three points for a year’s work and just one more than super sub Liam Lawson.

Logan Sargeant

At the time of writing, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix could well prove to be Logan Sargeant’s final race in an F1 car after a less than stellar debut season.

Four rookies entered F1 in 2023 and aside from Nyck de Vries who was cast off early into the year, Sargeant has been the worst amongst them.

Truth be told, it looks as if Sargeant arrived into the premiere series perhaps a little too early as he has made some very raw mistakes. He was beaten 22-0 by Alex Albon in qualifying and only on two occasions did he manage to finish ahead of the former Red Bull driver.

He did at least score points but it was not enough to stop him from finishing 21st in a 20-driver championship.

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