F1 team principals and drivers choose Max Verstappen as ‘best’ driver of the 2023 season

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Photo Credits: Red Bull Content Pool

The Formula One drivers and team principals have had their say voting for who they feel the top 10 drivers of the 2023 season were. Red Bull Racing’s dominant Max Verstappen, unsurprisingly came out on top in both votes. Unfortunately, his teammate Sergio Perez did not fare as well seeing how he propped up the bottom of both lists.

For a sixth year, F1 decided to poll F1 drivers in a ‘Drivers’ Driver of the Year’ vote. The same was asked of the team principals as F1 sought to discover who they felt the top 10 of the grid were. The approach to scoring was familiar seeing how scores were given based on the current F1 points system. This meant that 25 points would be allocated to the ‘best’ driver in their opinion and the scoring went through to a single point for the 10th driver on their list. Consequently, when all the scores were received the overall top 10 would be formed.

Once again, the rules allowed drivers to vote for themselves and the scoring of their list would remain secret. However, F1 announced that ‘not all of them chose to do so’.

Lewis Hamilton again chose not to involve himself in the poll but that did not stop his peers from putting forward the name of the seven time F1 Drivers’ World Champion. The talismanic Mercedes racer claimed P2 in the standings from his rivals while the team principals outcome found him slightly further down the list in P5.

Max Verstappen was recognised by his fellow members of the grid as the standout driver for a third consecutive time in the poll arranged by F1.com but his teammate’s P10 placement in both lists speaks volumes for the kind of season had by Sergio Perez. All the more reason for the Mexican racer to hit the ground running – or rather driving – when F1 returns in 2024.

The full list of each overall poll is shown below

Drivers’ Driver of the Year

  1. Verstappen
  2. Hamilton
  3. Alonso
  4. Norris
  5. Leclerc
  6. Sainz
  7. Albon
  8. Piastri
  9. Gasly
  10. Perez

Team Principals’ Driver of the Year

  1. Verstappen
  2. Alonso
  3. Norris
  4. Leclerc
  5. Hamilton
  6. Sainz
  7. Piastri
  8. Albon
  9. Russell
  10. Perez

Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso being voted third by those on the grid around him and then one place higher by the team principals shows again the calibre of the Spanish two-time F1 Drivers’ World Champion. Should Aston Martin have a consistent package in 2024, one can expect Alonso to show impressive form once again.

A team in need of finding consistent form is Ferrari and the poll also shows there is much improvement needed. Popular Monegasque racer Charles Leclerc (who was P2 in the Drivers’ vote last year) claimed bragging rights over his Ferrari team mate Carlos Sainz, as their peers allocated them P5 and P6 respectively. However, when it came to the team principals, Leclerc found himself voted into P4 whilst Sainz remained in P6.

McLaren’s rookie, Oscar Piastri, clearly impressed his rivals as the overall vote found the Australian driver in P8. However, in a result which no doubt shows many teams interested in the rookie, the team principals placed him one place higher on the list.

According to F1.com, the drivers who took part in the vote (in alphabetical order) were: Alex Albon, Fernando Alonso, Valtteri Bottas, Pierre Gasly, Nico Hulkenberg, Charles Leclerc, Kevin Magnussen, Lando Norris, Esteban Ocon, Sergio Perez, Oscar Piastri, Daniel Ricciardo, George Russell, Carlos Sainz, Logan Sargeant, Lance Stroll, Yuki Tsunoda, Max Verstappen, Zhou Guanyu. Only seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton did not participate.

Meanwhile, the team principals who took part in the vote (in alphabetical order) were: Alessandro Alunni Bravi, Bruno Famin, Christian Horner, Mike Krack, Guenther Steiner, Andrea Stella, Franz Tost, Fred Vasseur, James Vowles, Toto Wolff.

Max Verstappen was always going to be the winner of such a poll. The Dutchman achieved a staggering 19 Grand Prix victories from 22 weekends so it is hardly a surprise.

Alghough not surprising to many, George Russell fell from P3 (in 2022) to P9 in the team principals’ vote. To rub salt in the wound, the British Mercedes driver did not even feature in the Drivers’ overall vote – despite being on the podium twice.

Of course, any vote of this kind is subjective and just whets the appetite for F1 racing to return. Many fans (and drivers) would no doubt pay little attention to it in the grand scheme of things but it is an enjoyable exercise nonetheless as we wait for Bahrain pre-season testing to arrive.