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January 26, 2024
Hong Lau

2023 F1 Driver Rankings (2 minute read)

Mario, Princess Peach go on a new adventure in the animated film, Super Mario Brothers

I had a great conversation with Kurt, our CEO, Peter, our director of special projects and our friend, Dale, over the New Year. I thought it would be valuable insight to share and see if our community agrees. We decided to rank our Top 5 F1 Drivers on December 30th (who knows why we were doing this when we should have been celebrating the year, lol). It probably was because of me. But ALL THAT ASIDE, here are our rankings:

Mine 

  1. Max Verstappen
  2. Lando Norris
  3. Lewis Hamilton
  4. Fernando Alonso
  5. Charles Leclerc
  6. George Russell
  7. Carlos Sainz
  8. Alex Albon
  9. Oscar Piastri 
  10. Pierre Gasley

Dale 

  1. Max Verstappen 
  2. Lewis Hamilton
  3. Fernando Alonso
  4. Lando Norris
  5. Charles Leclerc


Kurt

  1. Max Verstappen
  2. Lewis Hamilton
  3. Lando Norris
  4. Fernando Alonso
  5. Alex Albon


I don't specifically remember their top 10; that's why I'm only leaning on their top 5, lol. But we basically had the debate on why Lando Norris was more impressive than Lewis Hamilton and one around why Sergio "Checo" Perez might not make the list for any of us in the top 10. 

I'll keep it short and show the proof for my top 10:


  • It's Max Verstappen. Do we need to have a conversation? Records, dominance, absolute control and decimation of his teammate 
  • Lando Norris was more impressive than Lewis for me because of his ability to have superb drives. I do think he made fewer mistakes and did more with a lesser car (before they got to Silverstone, the car was abysmal). I will say that I do think Lando might be the fastest driver on the grid (not the best because there's a lot more than just raw speed)
  • Lewis Hamilton, at the end of the day, has races that prove he's still 1B to Max this year… and I'm not just comfortable putting anyone else ahead of him. He also made some mistakes that I didn't expect from Lewis.
  • Fernando Alonso was so impressive, absolutely destroying Lance Stroll, competing for podiums, and making the most out of that car. Let's not mention that he's 42, lol.
  • Charles Leclerc was just flat-out one of the fastest drivers on the grid, period. His one-lap pace put Max on the pole multiple times in the year. That has got to be worth something. 
  • George didn't have his greatest year, but he had some memorable drives, and whenever you go against arguably the GOAT and beat him consistently, I have to give you some credit.
  • Carlos Sainz, to me, will always sit in this range because he's such a good driver and reliable once he understands his car. He is a known commodity.
  • Alex Albon had some really impressive showings, and I think he's really fast. Obviously, he destroyed Logan Sargeant… (I won't give as much credit as beating Piastri as Logan isn't seen as a "generational talent") 
  • Oscar Piastri just had a very impressive rookie season. He did give Lando a run for his money at times and win a sprint. 


For my last one, people might have Valtteri or Checo, but I just couldn't. Valtteri, at times, just looked flat-out terrible to me. You gotta believe that he has to put on a moment or two that is memorable if you are a top driver. He looked flat-out mediocre for the entire year, if not bad at times. I can't put you in my top 10. I could go on all day about Checo, but it can't be as simple as this. You barely beat Lewis Hamilton in a rocket ship and got absolutely destroyed by Max. Feel free to disagree and let me know your thoughts if you disagree, but there's no reason that Checo shouldn't be 100+ points ahead of 3rd place in the Drivers Championship.


The Lando vs Lewis argument is tough and could have gone either way. But the way I looked at it, Lando had more podiums, more memorable drives, higher highs, fewer mistakes, and only lost to Lewis by 20 points. I think it's safe to say that his car was far less before Silverstone, which is about ten races. I do think McLaren had the stronger car towards the end, but I don't think the gap was as wide as it was between the two cars at the beginning of the year. So the edge belongs to Landini!