The F1 awards for 2023


Driver’s Championship – Max Verstappen

Most race wins, most points in a season, most consecutive wins, 1000 laps led, most sprint wins but most importantly, a third World Championship in a row. Sure, the rocket ship of a car is always important in Formula One, but Max’s performances have been as close to perfection as they come. Mistakes are not part of the Dutchman’s repertoire. Elite tire management, devastating consistent pace and a calmness behind the wheel are what make Max the best. This season makes him a top 10 driver of all-time and the ascent to greatness is not slowing. 

Constructors’ Championship – Red Bull

Technically Max won this championship by himself. Red Bull are a winning machine, with the team producing ‘Triple DRS,’ an intricate floor design and the most powerful engine. Adrian Newey will take the plaudits, but it runs much deeper. There’s a lack of the bureaucratic nonsense that plagues Ferrari and Alpine. Each department is left to get on with their tasks, meaning strategy, pitstops and development are maximised. Finally, they have produced an environment for Max to thrive as the team leader. This isn’t ideal for Sergio Perez, but if Max can win you everything on his own, is that really a problem?

Most Underrated Driver – Lewis Hamilton

Calling a top 2 driver of all time underrated is unusual, but I feel like his P3 in the championship is not getting the respect it deserves. Finishing five places ahead of the talented George Russell is incredibly impressive. The Merc wasn’t the fastest this season, yet Lewis could outperform the car on multiple occasions, and take advantage of the pace when it eventually arrived. Highlights include a podium at Silvestone, and 16 points finishes in a row.

Rookie of the Year – Oscar Piastri

F1 is an unforgiving place for rookies. Some of the greats have taken a few seasons to really show their talent, so when someone hits the ground running everyone takes notice. Oscar has had an unbelievable season, even up against the rapid Lando Norris. His back-to-back podiums in Japan and Qatar is one of the most impressive achievements this season. Sure, the rookie class this season of Logan Sargeant, Nick De Vries and Liam Lawson wasn’t the strongest, but Oscar looks like a future race winner. He might even be destined for more. 

Oscar looks like a future race winner. He might even be destined for more

Best Overtake – Charles Leclerc on Sergio Perez – Las Vegas Grand Prix

Charles Leclerc felt at least 7G of brake force during his overtake to steal second place from Checo. Now that is a full send. It was audacious, ambitious and outrageous. On the final lap? This divebomb into the last two corners had to win it for me. 

Best Race – Singapore Grand Prix

Though the thrills of the Las Vegas GP were a pleasant surprise after pre-race fears of a snoozefest, Singapore was the highlight of the year. Yes, Max and Red Bull failing to win was a factor, but there was so much more. Liam Lawson knocking out Max in Q2, 7 different teams in Q3, a dramatic start, multiple safety cars, this race had it all. We were all shouting at our screen with the two Mercedes chasing down Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris for the podium places. To top it all off, George Russell crashing on the final lap produced the most dramatic moment in years. We even had a ‘Carlando’ reunion. Let’s hope for more of those classics next year.

Best Qualifying – Monaco Grand Prix (Hungary)

Words cannot describe the final sector from Max to snatch pole position in the Kingdom from Alonso. We were treated to the Monaco spectacle of shocks and suspense, with Perez crashing out in Q1. The TV showed a slow first two sectors from Max, before he threw himself into the last few corners, bouncing off multiple walls to claim an elusive Monaco pole position. 

Watching the drivers taken to the absolute limit in Qatar with the extreme heat was extraordinary

Fastest Pitstop – McLaren – 1.8 seconds in Qatar

You might not care, but really try to understand this record. 1.8 seconds. To lift the car, take four wheels off and put four back on. How? Mind-blowing stuff from the McLaren crew.

Biggest Shocks

Who can forget the revolving door at Alpine, losing their team principal and sporting director mid-season? Do you remember the mass pile up at turn 1 in Australia, and the chaos of trying to decipher the result? How about the weather at Zandvoort turning from bone dry to monsoon conditions instantaneously, sending cars aquaplaning left, right and centre? Watching the drivers taken to the absolute limit in Qatar with the extreme heat was extraordinary. There was plenty to reminisce over, despite the season predictable nature.  

Honourable Driver Mentions

Fernando Alonso has been in F1 longer than I have been alive. Still getting podiums, fighting for wins and finishing P4 in the championship. When is it going to end? Doesn’t look like time has an answer for the Spaniard. 

Alex Albon’s redemption arc is complete, single-handedly collecting all 27 of Williams points for P7 in the constructor’s championship. He even white-washed Logan in the qualifying head-to-head. Domination for the Thai-British driver, he’ll have his eye on a big drive in 2025. 

Shout out Nico Hulkenberg and Yuki Tsunoda, who really outperformed their poor machinery this year. Liam Lawson will be unlucky to be out of a drive in 2024, will he get the Williams seat?

Image: Fotóshírek szerkesztőség via Wikimedia Commons

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