Ranked: The 10 best drivers of the F1 2023 season

Sam Cooper
Alex Albon, Fernando Alonso and Oscar Piastri

Alex Albon, Fernando Alonso and Oscar Piastri all had memorable seasons.

The 2023 season is over so it is time to look back at the ratings we handed out to this current crop of F1 drivers during the season.

For every race, PlanetF1.com rated every driver from 0-10 and we have now crunched the numbers to give you the average across the year.

Driver ratings explained: Every driver started the weekend slap bang in the middle with a 5/10 rating and we operated on a sliding scale from there. We took the entire weekend into account, not just the race itself.

However, the scores were weighted more towards a driver’s race performance, but qualifying performances (good or bad) were also factored into our ratings and, in extreme circumstances, practice also played a minor part in the overall score.

So without further ado, here are the top 10:

10.) Daniel Ricciardo – 6.79* (Only completed seven races)

Daniel Ricciardo’s return to F1 may not have been the confirmation of his skills that he was looking for but that was mostly due to him being a victim of misfortune more than anything he did.

His crash put him on the sidelines again and he returned to find a quick AlphaTauri car but still things did not always go his way, such as a tear off strip getting stuck in his car early on in Abu Dhabi.

9.) Oscar Piastri – 6.82

Oscar Piastri can perhaps feel a little hard done by to be this low down on the list after arguably the best rookie season since Lewis Hamilton in 2007.

In the opening races, it looked as if he had made a terrible choice swapping Alpine for McLaren but come Silverstone, his decision was vindicated many times over.

He picked up a sprint victory, one of just two drivers to deny Red Bull a win, and did more than enough to suggest a very strong 2024.

8.) Alex Albon – 6.84

Considering the limitations of the Williams car, 2023 was an excellent year for Alex Albon.

His performances follow a simple question of did the circuit have long straights? Because chances were if they did, then Albon was strong.

His best finish of the year came in Canada and Monza and he scored 27 points, almost seven times more than he did last year.

7.) Charles Leclerc – 6.89

The highest of highs and lowest of lows for Charles Leclerc which seems to be a common occurrence for him now.

He had some very strong races, most notably in Baku and Abu Dhabi, but also had some poor ones in Australia, Spain and Zandvoort.

He ended the year with six podiums which was double the tally of his team-mate but it was Carlos Sainz who got that all-important win.

6.) George Russell – 7.05

After a very impressive 2022 in what was a difficult time for the Mercedes team, Russell has found life much harder this time round.

He started the year much better than he ended it with a run of form around the summer break highlighting his difficulties both in quali and the race itself.

But he did save the best for last with a strong race in Abu Dhabi that proved vital in ensuring Mercedes held onto P2.

5.) Liam Lawson – 7.10* (Only completed five races)

An average score that was heavily impacted by how few races he took part in but that should not take away from Liam Lawson’s impressive achievement.

He was dropped in at a moment’s notice to replace the injured Ricciardo and a single practice session was all that separated him from his F1 debut but, even in the Zandvoort race, he proved he has what it takes.

His performances would improve to the point that he finished P9 in Singapore and has done enough to suggest he is ready for a full-time seat whenever that opportunity arises.

4.) Lewis Hamilton – 7.36

It may not have ended in the eighth world title but 2023 was definitely a step up for Lewis Hamilton from the horror show that was 2022.

Hamilton’s form mirrored that of the W14’s where it was good at some circuits, terrible at others. The only real blemish on his record would be the season finale where Russell extracted much more out of the car than Hamilton was able to but other than that, he has established himself as the lead driver.

His best races were the Spanish and the US Grand Prix with the former being the first chance to see the B-spec car in action.

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3.) Fernando Alonso – 7.39

Aston Martin’s performances may have waned as the year went on but Fernando Alonso’s never did.

Making what seemed at best a sideways move over the course of the winter, from that first race it shows why Alonso had opted for Aston.

When the car was one of the best, Alonso regularly ended on the podium but as it got weaker, his true talent was on display.

He beat Lance Stroll by 132 points, almost single handedly dragging Aston/’Team Silverstone’ to their best Constructors’ finish since 2020.

2.) Lando Norris – 7.55

At the start of the year and after two scores of 6.5 and 4.5, the idea of Lando Norris being the second best driver would have seemed impossible.

But such has been the turnaround of McLaren that Norris has been the second most consistent driver of the season and ends the year with the fourth most amount of podiums.

While that first win still eludes him, something he would surely have achieved had Red Bull not been so dominant, Norris has more than doubled his career podium tally in a single season.

If the 2024 McLaren car is as good as the 2023 one then that number is only going to go one way.

1.) Max Verstappen – 9.3

Max Verstappen being top of this list should come as no surprise but what is most impressive is just how far ahead he is.

Verstappen averaged 9.3 per race which is pretty much near perfection. To do that over 22 races is outstanding and not to mention his level of expectation is so much greater than everyone else’s that even a routine win sometimes did not earn him a perfect 10.

He scored full marks at five races this year – Miami, Spanish, Dutch, Japanese and Abu Dhabi – and barring Singapore, he never went lower than an 8.5.

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