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Formula 1

F1 2023 driver rankings 10-6: from Lawson to Sainz

RacingNews365 has got together to thrash out those all-important driver rankings for the 2023 season, with Part 1 today focusing on those who ranked 10th-to-sixth, with the top five coming tomorrow.

Piastri Leclerc Sainz Alonso Japan
To news overview © XPBimages

The system the RacingNews365 team used to calculate our driver rankings for 2023 was fairly simple.

Every member of the team was asked to rank their top 10 based on the current F1 points system of 25 for Max Verstappen and then 18-15-12-10-8-6-4-2-1 down to 10th.

The lists were then combined to give an overall total for each driver, with the battle for second actually turning out to be rather close, but that will be revealed tomorrow (December 13th), although there will be no spoilers if you are told Max Verstappen received the maximum 75 points on offer and topped the list.

This first part of the rankings takes in those who finished 10th-to-sixth in the combined list.

Team members who voted: Jake Nichol, Fergal Walsh, Rory Mitchell.

10th - Liam Lawson - four points

This might come as a surprise seeing as Lawson only did five Grands Prix, but four points from Jake Nichol was enough to see him squeak onto the list ahead of Alpine's Pierre Gasly.

Lawson was thrown in at the deep end mid-way through the Dutch Grand Prix weekend after Daniel Ricciardo broke his hand, with the race itself also proving a chaotic dry-wet-dry-wet affair in which he did well to bring the AlphaTauri home in 13th.

He followed this up with a pair of 11th places in Italy and Japan, but sandwiched in the middle was a fine effort of ninth in Singapore - the ultimate test of a driver's endurance, and was AlphaTauri's best result of the year until its late season surge beginning in Austin.

The Kiwi has to make do with a reverse driver slot for 2024, but all the signs are is that he'll be back with a full-time ride in 2025. He look assured, confident, reflective and calm during his five-race stint, which bodes extremely well.

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

9th - George Russell - nine points

Just two podiums for George Russell marked a difficult second season at Mercedes, but there were flashes of underlying pace.

Costly mistakes in Canada and Singapore cost chances at a podium while he lost further chances when the red flag was deployed after his pit-stop in Australia before the Mercedes' engine failed.

In Las Vegas, he also hit Verstappen in a scrappy season that had all the right ingredients, especially against Lewis Hamilton, but was just lacking the final product.

He has all the right ideas, but just needs to work piecing it together after a self-confessed "worst season of my career in terms of results."

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

8th - Oscar Piastri - 16 points

The highest Oscar Piastri earned in our rankings was sixth by Fergal Walsh, earning him half of his tally of 16 points.

As foundation setting goes, this was about as good a rookie season as is possible in modern Formula 1 for the much-hyped Melbourne-native following his stellar junior career and how McLaren extracted him from Alpine.

He did well in the early races when the car was not competitive on largely unfamiliar tracks and was unlucky to lose a maiden podium at Silverstone thanks to a badly-timed Safety Car.

Piastri banked that podium in Japan, following it up with another in Qatar and also banking the Sprint win in Lusail - one of only three drivers - the others being Carlos Sainz and Sergio Perez to beat Verstappen in 2023.

A year's experience under his belt will prove invaluable next term - with race pace and tyre management a weakness he must improve on to take his performances to the consistently elite level of Lando Norris.

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

7th - Alex Albon - 18 points

Most of the heavy-lifting for Alex Albon's 18 points comes from Jake Nichol's ranking of the London-born Thai in fifth-place, earning 10 points.

His drive in Canada was outstanding in the upgraded Williams to keep the faster Alpine of Esteban Ocon behind as Albon was the shining light of the eight drivers in the batch of four teams fighting over seventh-10th in the Constructors'.

He led Williams back to midfield respectability and delivering seventh in the standings will be worth millions to a team that has finished last four times in the five seasons between 2018 and 2022.

Albon's 27 points could have been further bolstered had he not crashed while running sixth in Australia on a weekend the FW45 was genuinely quick.

That is a mark against him, but the overall body of his work was excellent and has truly rebuilt his career and is being touted for a drive elsewhere when the driver market opens up for 2025.

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

6th - Carlos Sainz - 23 points

Carlos Sainz placed third in Rory Mitchell's rankings, perhaps a just reward for the only non-Red Bull Grand Prix winner all season.

His burst of form across Zandvoort-Monza-Singapore was outstanding, with his canny use of the DRS late on by giving it to Lando Norris to defend against the charging Mercedes' of Russell and Hamilton was the finest piece of race-craft all season.

But as is often the case with Sainz, he just cannot unlock that consistency across a season, which is what costs him against Charles Leclerc, who he ran close this season.

Sainz is a tenacious, gritty worker as opposed to Leclerc's 'get in it, drive and sort it out when you get to the corner', but when weekend's started off on the backfoot, he was sometimes unable to climb out of the whole.

Perhaps Sainz lacks that final ultimate tenth to propel him into the elite of the elite, but this was still a fine season.

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

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