With the 2023 F1 season done and dusted, FormulaRapida.net decided to draw out a ranking system in a new ‘Tier’ system, moving away from a traditional, individual ranked order.

The long 2023 F1 season had its share of strong performances from everyone on the grid, whether at the front of the field or at the back. For this reason, we decided to do away with the traditional system of an individual, ranked system of categorisation.

Darshan Chokhani – FormulaRapida.net’s own – decided on the Tier system where we have divided the 16 drivers in four tiers, with the remaining three regulars along with three substitutes in the others section. Here’s how they are stacked up –

Tier 1 –

Max Verstappen:

Much like how we put Red Bull as solo in Tier 1, Max Verstappen too deserves a solo run in the first division after the season he had in 2023. He set and broke records which will take some beating from others in the years to come. Such was his season that counting non-Verstappen wins was easier to do than counting his race wins of 19 from the 22 events. The number of podiums was far more easier where he did so in 21 races but one, to go with 12 pole positions and nine fastest laps as he scored 575 points – where he beat his own record from last year to score these many points in a season. He made the most out of the car given to him to register his third world championship win and even decimate his teammate apart from the whole grid at ease.

Tier 2 –

Lando Norris:

The way he started the 2023 F1 season, it was unthinkable to see him in Tier 2 as such. But as the season progressed, not just McLaren but also Lando Norris came alive. Although he made couple of mistakes especially in qualifying, but on the race side, he was supreme. Even though he ended up sixth in the standings – thanks to a slow start – but his performances was solid enough to put him in Tier 2. He scored 207 points along with seven podium finishes and one fastest lap. He was challenged by his rookie teammate at times, but he showed his experience and skills to leave him behind at certain events and force the team to hand him the advantage even if Oscar Piastri was ahead of him on the road.

Fernando Alonso:

While there was gain on Norris’ side, Fernando Alonso started off brilliantly, only to dip down as the season progressed. But his performances didn’t go down per se as he was still getting those moves done with the car he had. Leaving aside the age factor, the Aston Martin driver performed at his best, as he himself termed it as a year that was similar to 2012. From getting those one odd podiums in recent times, he registered eight of them to go with one fastest lap. He ended up fourth with 206 points where he was tied with Charles Leclerc but ended up ahead due to higher number of podiums. More importantly, he beat his teammate Lance Stroll by a massive 132 points and kind of performed like how Verstappen did to help his team in securing the constructors’ position.

Charles Leclerc:

His season did not start well on the reliability front and had one towards the end too. The lady luck was certainly not on Leclerc’s side this year after having a solid 2022. Whether reliability and or certain mistakes, the Monegasque just didn’t stitch a consistent season by his standards. He did finish fifth after scoring 206 points to go with six podiums and five pole positions, but it came along with three DNFs, one DSQ and one DNS. His driving wasn’t a problem as much, as he still managed to beat teammate Carlos Sainz, who also had his share of solid performances. Both were kind of evenly matched. But certainly, the car did let him down at certain events as his record of not being able convert pole into race wins only stretched out during the course of the year.

Lewis Hamilton:

Even though he did not have the car at his disposal, there was a tinge of the old Lewis Hamilton seen in F1 2023. The biggest leap was him beating teammate George Russell and doing better especially in race trim against him. The Mercedes wasn’t performing as well they would have liked but still he dragged himself to be third in the standings, even threatening Sergio Perez for second. He had just the six podium finishes but he was consistently in points which helped him to beat a big pack of drivers in the standings. He accumulated 234 points in the end and had a pole and three fastest laps against his name. After his first-ever winless season in 2022, he returned empty handed again in 2023, but performed much better than last season.

Oscar Piastri:

A rookie and straight up in Tier 2. Like Norris, how it started for Oscar Piastri, it wouldn’t seem like he would be in the second division. But his performances when the McLaren came alive was eventually worthy enough to put him in Tier 2, especially considering he went up against an experienced Norris and also had to learn so many F1 tracks. That first part, though, did cost him on the points side as he scored 97 to be ninth in the standings. But to register two podium finishes to go with a sprint win and two fastest laps, served him well. There is much to learn for him still especially on tyre management side, but the Australian has showed enough promise to build upon in 2024.

Tier 3:

Alexander Albon:

The Williams which ended up last in 2022, Alexander Albon turned up to drive the skins off it and drag it to be seventh in 2023. It was a single-handed achievement with Logan Sargeant only managing the sole point. The car was not perform proper as it was too circuit dependent especially the ones with long straights. But the Thai delivered on those tracks and scored enough to beat AlphaTauri by three points. He managed 27 points in all to be 13th and he finished as the leader of the rest of the field behind the Top 6 teams – taking in Alpine into account since they did score podium finishes. There was an element of attack from Albon, but supreme defence too as it was needed to hold onto points results. For a makeshift season, he did all what was required to help the team achieve a solid result.

Pierre Gasly:

First year with a new team and Pierre Gasly already managed to beat the experienced Alpine campaigner Esteban Ocon. Granted the latter had reliability misery but still to progress through the season and collect crucial points, the Frenchman had double the work. He got that one podium finish to go with a third place in sprint, as he accumulated 58 points to be 11th. There were moments where he found himself nowhere or luckless, but as the season progressed he managed to extract good results. He gave less moments than teammate, but was consistent enough and also had decent reliability.

Yuki Tsunoda:

Certainly Yuki Tsunoda doesn’t have enough points to show how well he drove throughout the 2023 F1 season, barring the few odd moments when went back to his old self. From the onset of the year, he was driving the wheels off a slow AlphaTauri and was comfortably beating Nyck de Vries. Even against the likes of Liam Lawson and Daniel Ricciardo, he maintained his form. He scored 17 crucial points which included a fastest lap to bring his team close to beating Williams. Overall, he looked a much better driver than the previous season, although, his radio communication largely remained the same.

George Russell:

After a solid 2022 F1 season against teammate Lewis Hamilton, the 2023 season saw a dip for George Russell especially on the points side. He ended up only eighth with 175 points, as he only managed the two podium finishes and one fastest lap which was a stark difference not only from last season but against his teammate too. Even though he claimed to have progressed in terms of his driving, he did not have the results to show for it somehow and some mistakes proved too costly which dropped him to be in Tier 3. That consistency and smoothness was lacking and he looked a bit under pressure or desperate for results, which worked against him.

Sergio Perez:

One of the biggest names to feature in the Tier 3 list is not unimaginable if we look at the performances of his teammate Max Verstappen and the whole team. Sergio Perez did start handsomely but for whatever reasons the dip was a drastic fall. It even allowed him to be threatened for third when the dominance of Red Bull should have made it easy. Granted there were sync issues but in such situation, it becomes difficult to hold on. The two wins came early where he peaked and eventually he only managed nine podiums in all to go with two pole positions and two fastest laps – a significant drop against the Dutchman. The qualifying issues were out in open and the salvaging job in the races only earned him 50-50 tag and perhaps not dependable going forward if Red Bull are challenged by their rivals. He ended up being in the zone of trying to beat Verstappen at all cost and it came back on him as he moved away from doing the basics.

Tier 4 –

Esteban Ocon:

It was fine margins for Esteban Ocon to miss out being in the third division and find himself in Tier 4. One of the big reasons was him getting beaten by Pierre Gasly, who was in his first year at Alpine. Results wise, Ocon did manage the 58 points to be 12th which included a podium but the big amount of reliability issues from good position cost him. In fact, he gave some amazing moves throughout the season and looked very racey at all times. He did what the car allowed him to do, but just that missing out on some good results left a bit more of asking from him.

Nico Hulkenberg:

Although the results didn’t show or the car’s terrible race pace cost him, but Nico Hulkenberg’s qualifying performances and some race runs even after being away from the sport, he earned himself to be in Tier 4 and not the ‘others’ section. He scored more than double of his teammate with nine points to be 16th but the way he qualified in certain events, if he had the race pace, he would have been higher up and Haas may have had the chance to be above last place. Even on the race side, he defended well for long until he had nothing left and coming back for a full season, he didn’t look rusty.

Valtteri Bottas:

The Finn was quite so-so in 2023 F1 season especially after doing much better in 2022. Granted that he did not have the car excelling everywhere but his performances too dipped a bit. Yes, he did well whenever the Alfa Romeo was good in races but something was missing. He managed only the 10 points to be 15th and was a touch consistent to hover in and around the Top 10 in majority of the events being dragged down by the car. He didn’t look as flamboyant as Hulkenberg, but went by his way to score one point more than the German.

Lance Stroll:

He was this close to miss out being in Tier 4 but for his performances in the last few rounds. While Fernando Alonso took those podium finishes, Lance Stroll disappointingly scored none of them which reflected on his results as he was only 10th with 74 points against teammate who ended up fourth. He had the injury to start the year but once fully recovered, he didn’t do enough justice while it was agreed that he was unlucky sometimes. But give how Aston Martin were, more was expected out of an experienced campaigner irrespective of his age. He did not the second half well and only the late recovery helped to save his year and push him into the Top 10.

Others –

From the drivers who did the full season, only Kevin Magnussen, Zhou Guanyu and Logan Sargeant feature on the ‘others list’. The Dane was disappointing by his own admission, where he finished 19th with just the three points. The car just didn’t suit him and even with the tyre troubles, he never looked comfortable. At the same time, Guanyu was so-so too, to be 18th with six points. Although he looked better than Magnussen but in overall context, he didn’t look as comfortable as he last year. As for Sargeant, the American rookie only showed glimpses of his pace as he largely struggled against his teammate. He managed to eke out a point but never set the stage on fire while making too many mistakes. Among the ones who had handful of run, both Liam Lawson and Daniel Ricciardo grabbed their opportunities to score two and six points respectively, especially the former coming in as a rookie. While the timing was perhaps not right, but overall Nyck de Vries just struggled to get his act together.

Here’s F1 2023 teams’ tier order: https://formularapida.net/f1-2023-teams-categorised-in-tier-system-for-their-performances/

Here’s team principals ranking Top 10

Here’s 19 drivers selecting Top 10 drivers of F1 2023

Here’s Forbes most valuable teams of 2023

Here’s Forbes Top 10 highest paid drivers

Here’s Top 10 overtakes of F1 2023

Here’s Pirelli sharing some F1 2023 stats

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