Preseason F1 Driver Performance Rankings
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Welcome to the first edition of the F1 Driver Performance Ranking for 2023. Each round, drivers are ranked based on their form and the evolution of their respective performance from what we’ve seen and what’s to come.
These are subjective and based solely on opinions mixed with results. Are they 100 percent accurate? In my head, yes! Outside, no. But it’s a nice way to spark discussion, show form and facilitate a conversation that brings F1 fans closer together – and maybe further apart at the same time. fun right? Always!
There isn’t as much to do for the drivers as for the teams – stay tuned for tomorrow’s team classifications – and I’m sure this will make for some interesting and unique debates.
So, without further ado, I present you with the pre-season Driver Power Rankings going into Round 1 this weekend in Bahrain.
10. Logan Sargeant
Of all the rookies at the Bahrain Test, Sargeant looked the most consistent. He did over 200 laps for Williams and set the second fastest lap of the three rookies, although technically it was the fastest if you subtract Nyck de Vries as he has competed in a grand prix before. While Williams is likely the slowest team, the fact that Sargeant overtook his more experienced teammate Alex Albon in the same machinery was notable and gives the first American in F1 since 2015 a solid start to his Formula One career.
9. George Russel
There’s not too much to report from Russell on the whole spectacle front. He completed fewer laps in testing than his teammate Lewis Hamilton, was a little slower and wasn’t too excited about the prospect of where Mercedes will be this season. But the Brit is always consistent, and that’s something he’ll benefit from in his second season with the Silver (or Black) Arrows.
8. Zhou Guanyu
There is a lot of talk about Alfa Romeo and its performance in the Bahrain Test, with many claiming it was a bit of showboating to garner some attention. But it was great to see Zhou set the fastest time on Day 2 and give him a confidence boost for his second F1 season. It will be an important year for the Chinese rider as he is keen to retain his place on the grid and gaining some confidence from the test will definitely help him head into the opening round of the season.
Hamilton set the second-fastest overall time in the test in an up-and-down performance from Mercedes. He seemed a little optimistic about the car’s performance, claiming it was a “good platform to work from”, but he also seemed less optimistic about his title chances. It was solid but unspectacular from the seven-time champion, but you can never rule him out.
6. Sergio Perez
Perez set the overall best time of the test on the last day, but you just never got the feeling that Perez could match teammate Max Verstappen over the three days. Most of the talk continues to revolve around how he’s a solid number two and that he’s not in talks with championship contenders. He’s absolutely fantastic on his day but will need more consistency to surprise people with the best car in the field once again.
5. Valtteri Bottas
Similar words to the ones I used for Zhou, but Bottas is slightly increased for being a bit more consistent, as well as for his general behavior throughout the test. He set the third fastest overall time in a very long run on the final day of testing and ‘Australia’s second most popular rider’ starts the season like a new man. If the Alfa can retain some of its strong preseason form, don’t count it for a strong race day performance. A sneaky podium in 2023? Stranger things have happened.
4. Carlos Sainz
It’s very hard to separate the Ferrari drivers heading into 2023. Yes, Charles Leclerc is the one everyone is looking at, but with each year that goes by with Sainz in red, he becomes more comfortable in the car and really shows his talent. If there were a real smoker to watch out for in the 2023 title race, it would be the Spaniard. He has what it takes to compete with the best and has the ability to compete with those around him. But could another Spaniard join this hunt? Continue reading.
3. Charles Leclerc
Again, it’s difficult to separate the Ferrari drivers, but Leclerc was slightly quicker than Sainz during the test, so he just barely gets that position. Did Ferrari dig a little bit to avoid the hype they had in 2022? Perhaps. But you know that if there’s any hint of title chasing for the team in red, Leclerc will be the man to lead them. Let’s just hope he’s ironed out a few more of those quirks and the reliability is sorted as it appears so all us long-suffering Ferrari fans finally have something to celebrate.
2. Fernando Alonso
Has Nando finally made a clever team change? It could be the case. If there was an overall star from Bahrain it was the 41-year-old. The hype surrounding Aston Martin seems justified, and there’s a chance that a team in green rather than black could be battling for third place in the championship. Ninth overall on the timesheets doesn’t seem like a real place for Alonso and Aston and all eyes will be on him and the team going into Round 1 to see if they live up to the hype and form they’re on we have seen in Sakhir in the three days.
1. Max Verstappen
The reigning two-time champion finished just 11th overall on the timesheets after setting the fastest time on the opening day, but there’s something about F1 about the ease with which the Dutchman has driven in the test and the confidence he’s showing Frightened Paddock that 2022 was not an isolated case. Every year he’s on the grid, Verstappen continues to mature and given the magnitude of his powers that have seen him become the sport’s best driver over the last two years, it would be a brave person to bet against another Verstappen Championship in 2023 He’s the rider to beat in Round 1.
What do you think of these rankings? Do you agree with the positions? Has anyone been left out of the top ten? Let me know what you think in the comments below.
https://www.theroar.com.au/2023/03/02/f1-preseason-driver-power-rankings/ Preseason F1 Driver Performance Rankings