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Ranking the Top 10 F1 Drivers on the Paddock for the 2023 Season

Brandon Horne

Max Verstappen after winning the Japanese Grand Prix.


We are now three races deep into the 2023 F1 season, and Red Bull has won every time. Their car is simply better than every other team, and, coupled with having two-time reigning World Champion Max Verstappen on their side, it’s looking like their dominance will continue. That’s not to say that there aren’t teams capable of challenging them; Mercedes is known for making dramatic mid-season improvements and showed it with their first podium of the season in Australia. Aston Martin has also made great improvements, as 43 year old Fernando Alonso has placed third in every race this year with young teammate Lance Stroll not far behind after finishing top six in two of his last three races. Williams has been a surprise this year with a decently fast car, which has enabled driver Alex Albon to be competitive in points. With all this in mind, let’s jump in and take a look at every driver in the paddock this year.


1. Max Verstappen

No surprise to anyone, Verstappen takes the first spot in my rankings. Coming off back-to-back championships with Red Bull, Verstappen has had an extremely strong start to the season after winning the race in Bahrain, coming second in Saudi Arabia, and winning again in Australia. Red Bull is far ahead of the pack in overall performance, with its most impressive performance being Checo Perez’s climb from last place all the way to fifth overall in Albert Park. Verstappen uses pure driving skill to takes advantage of his car’s superior performance, as evidenced by two wins in three races. He is looking dominant, and will certainly continue to perform throughout the course of the season. I expect him to win a third World Drivers Championship in a row this year.


2. Sergio (Checo) Perez

Coming in second is Verstappen’s teammate, Sergio Perez. Perez has finally gotten his well-deserved chance to compete in the best car, and he has rewarded his team with a win, a second place, and a comeback from last place to fifth in Australia. His driving complements Verstappen’s performance well, and he has shown that he is more than capable of being a strong number two driver for Red Bull this year. He has been in the sport for over a decade now and has gained a wealth of experience that he is putting to good use. He is also a consistent point scorer, which is crucial in the Constructors’ Championship.


3. Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso's performance in F1 has been nothing short of impressive. Despite his age at 43 years old, he has shown no signs of slowing down and has been consistently finishing on the podium this season. Alonso's experience and skill are invaluable to the team, providing them with a much-needed boost in performance. His impressive speed in the Aston Martin has been a highlight of the season so far, and he is proving to be a strong contender for podium finishes throughout the season. Alonso's ability to bring the most out of his car and his strategic racecraft make him a formidable opponent for his rivals. As the season progresses, it will be interesting to see how Alonso continues to perform and compete against the younger generation of drivers.


4. Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton, the seven-time World Drivers Champion, takes the fourth spot in my rankings. He has been in a fierce battle with Verstappen for the past few years, and it looks like he will have to pull out all the stops to beat him this year. Hamilton has had a slow start to the season, finishing fifth in both Bahrain and Saudi Arabia before finally getting his first podium in Australia with a second place finish. However, Hamilton is known for making dramatic comebacks, and he has the experience and the skill to make it happen. As I mentioned earlier, Mercedes often makes significant midseason upgrades to its car, which may enable Hamilton to compete with Verstappen and Perez.


5. George Russel

Russell, who moved to Mercedes from Williams a few seasons ago, has shown promise in the first few races. He scored points in Bahrain, finishing seventh behind Red Bull, Ferrari, and his teammate Lewis Hamilton. He finished fourth in Saudi Arabia and retired in Australia due to a technical issue. Russell is a young and talented driver who has shown his potential in his previous team. With the resources and support from Mercedes, he can certainly challenge for podium finishes and even race wins this season.


6.Lance Stroll

Stroll has been putting in solid performances this season, finishing sixth in Bahrain, retiring in Saudi Arabia, and placing fourth in Australia. He has been consistently finishing in the points and contributing to Aston Martin's performance this season. Stroll has shown that he has the potential to challenge for podium finishes, but he needs to find that extra edge to consistently finish higher up the grid. Nevertheless, he is a valuable asset to his team and a driver to watch out for as the season progresses.


7. Carlos Sainz

Sainz has had a steady start to the season, finishing fourth in Bahrain, sixth in Saudi Arabia, and 12th in Australia – due to a questionable penalty. He has been consistently finishing in the points, contributing to Ferrari's performance this season. Sainz has shown that he has the potential to challenge for podium finishes, but he needs to push just a little more to consistently finish higher up. With his experience and skill, he can certainly help Ferrari improve their performance and challenge for the Constructors' Championship.


8. Lando Norris

Norris has had a poor start to the season, finishing 17th in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia due to car problems, and finishing sixth in Australia. However, he has shown remarkable talent, and has been unlucky with the performance from his McLaren, which has been extremely underwhelming this year. Norris is a young and talented driver who can certainly challenge for podium finishes and even race wins this season.


9. Charles Leclerc

Leclerc has had a disappointing start to the season, retiring in Bahrain, placing seventh in Saudi Arabia, and retiring due to a shunt in Australia. However, he has shown great speed and skill, and has been unlucky with incidents that were not entirely his fault. Leclerc has the potential to challenge for podium finishes and even race wins, especially with the Ferrari car that he has at his disposal. As the season progresses, he can certainly improve his performance and challenge the top teams.


10. Alex Albon

Despite having only scored one total point this year at Bahrain, Albon was poised to finish sixth in Australia before an unlucky shunt ended his race prematurely. Albon has demonstrated his ability in the past. With Red Bull he was consistently in the points, and now he just needs to establish a level of consistency to compete at the higher levels of F1. His Williams car has surprised many this season and, if he can stay clean, he should perform well this year.

All in all, the 2023 F1 season is shaping up to be a very exciting one. Red Bull Racing are dominating the field at the moment, but there are teams capable of challenging them. Max Verstappen is looking dominant, and he is the clear favorite to win the World Drivers Championship this year. However, there are other talented drivers in the paddock who could give him a run for his money. As the season progresses, it will be interesting to see who comes out on top.


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