Hey folks, Dre here, back from vacation! And with the Summer Break finally coming to an end, and the Tier List series in general being a late addition to the 2023 schedule on here, it’s time for a mid-season review!
So, with the season 12 races deep, let’s put all 20 Drivers of the 2023 season so far into our usual tier-list, based on the whole season so far! Now, I’ve never pretended like this is an exact science, but my general “vibe” when scoring everyone here is overall performance, level of expectation and teammate comparisons are all taken into account here. So without further ado, let’s rank all the 2023 drivers so far*!
*Leaving Daniel Ricciardo off for now as two races isn’t a fair sample size!
Max Verstappen – He’s dropped less than a weekend’s worth of points all season. I don’t think I need to add any more than that.
Fernando Alonso – The pre-season hype was real and Fernando has been able to prove he’s still elite, even at Age 42, anchoring the Silverstone-based team back to its very best. The results have slipped a bit as the field has caught up to Aston’s hot start, but Alonso has consistently been outstanding. So good, he’s been giving Sergio Perez a headache at times.
Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes has spent most of 2023 being locked into the #3 team spot, but four podiums and finishing every race in the top eight is classic Hamilton excellence. And after last season raised some fair questions with Russell hitting the ground running, Lewis has taken control of his team back.
Charles Leclerc – He’s not had it easy this year, that Bahrain electronics failure has set the tone for more negative Ferrari headlines, but Charles has recovered well and has shown that he still carries all the aces in the Maranello setup. Two pole positions and three podiums in the #4 team is really solid work for a car that has fundamental problems.
Alex Albon – (I promise, this is a compliment), Albon has picked up where George Russell left off. As Williams has gone through a reboot, Albon’s spearheaded the team into a handful of big points finishes at key moments. And at a time when lower-midfield points will be at a premium, 11 of them from Albon are priceless.
Yuki Tsunoda – I get the complaints here. A lot of Yuki’s success in 2023 has come at the expense of Nyck de Vries, who we’ll get to later. But given the team is stone-dead last in the constructors’, I think Tsunoda has done a good job anchoring the team post-Gasly. Finishing half the season’s races 11th or better is really good work, but Ricciardo’s return will be his true test.
Lando Norris – Judging McLaren is a headache. They were hopeless to start the 2023 season, but post-Austria upgrade package they’ve been the #2 team in the sport. How much credit do you give them for four really good races out of 12? Given Norris wasn’t accountable for most of McLaren’s early struggles, I’ve given him the benefit of the doubt here.
George Russell – George Russell has been the sort of guy who’s slightly struggled compared to his dizzying 2022 heights this time around. A 3-9 record in races against Lewis isn’t pretty and Canada’s wall-smash and blowing a podium in Monaco scored him down in my book.
Carlos Sainz Jr – Again, consistent but unspectacular from the Spaniard, who’s chipped away at medium-sized points for most of the year but struggling to show the upside that Leclerc has.
Oscar Piastri – Head-to-head he just hasn’t been at Norris’ level (And to be fair, he doesn’t need to be right now) which made me feel like B-Tier was a better spot for him but he’s definitely trending in the right direction. Single-handedly justifying Zak’s messing about with his IndyCar talent. (Hi, Alex.)
Alpine’s Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly – Both drivers for me, have felt very similar. 6-6 in Qualis head-to-head. Both peaking with a podium and a Sprint podium each, and both having some howlers (Remember Ocon’s penalties in Austria? Yikes.) Maybe Ocon by a nose here, but don’t think by enough to separate them.
Nico Hulkenberg – Wanted to give the German some credit here for putting Haas on his back after three years of emergency stand-ins. His pace is still really good (9-3 in Quali’s against K-Mag), and when the rare chances have come up for Hulk to cash in for points, he’s taken them in Australia and Austria’s sprint.
Sergio Perez – It’s never a good sign when you’re in the best car, maybe ever, and people are talking about your job security. Checo’s done a decent job of steadying the ship towards the break but his poor Qualifying in anything less than optimal conditions are exposing him at the highest level.
Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu – Participation Trophy Award Winners for 2023. (Like Alpine, Bottas has been the better of the two, but not by enough to split them)
Logan Sargeant – Look, he’s not been great, but the fact he’s a rookie and Albon’s been really good has done him no favours. Britain and Bahrain were flashes of what he could be though, so there’s still time for him to recover.
Lance Stroll – He’s 102 points behind Fernando Alonso through 12 races. In the third-best car. Has there been anyone in the field who’s done less with more this year?
Kevin Magnussen – One Top 15 finish since Miami. I know he’s been unlucky at times, but one has to wonder… did Haas move on from the wrong man last year?
Nyck de Vries – I don’t blame Nyck for being ultimately out of his depth, I blame Dr Marko for being so desperate to commit to this experiment in the first place. I don’t think he deserved the chop after just 10 GPs but if you’re not confident in him, best to move him on quickly.
So that’s my mid-season thoughts on the field so far in 2023, what would you change? Let me know in the comments or pepper me on social media here! Thanks for reading!