2023 season, Opinion

My Top 5 Moments of the 2023 F1 Season

Hi, everyone! I’m back with OTPW’s classic ‘Top 5 Moments’ post, which has been a staple on the blog for four seasons now. It was tough to pick this year. In a 22-race calendar, there’s unsurprisingly a lot to sort through. Nevertheless, here it is – my favourite moments this season (in no particular order). Enjoy! 

5) Sainz’s Singapore Win 

This one was special.

Red Bull’s domination has made 2023 a challenging year for Ferrari. In a rare off weekend for the Austrian-British team, Sainz seized advantage and qualified on pole.

He took the win – partly due to his immensely smart strategy. Sainz made sure to keep Lando within DRS range to protect his position against the rapidly approaching Mercedes cars. He conveyed this to the Ferrari strategists with the now infamous radio message, “Yeah, it’s on purpose.” The ability to have that tactic in mind while defending for the win demonstrates the extent of Sainz’s skill.

In a throwback to my 2021 post, we also got another Carlos and Lando podium. It’s always nice to see their friendship. Fans from their days as teammates at McLaren may remember Lando saying “Imagine if we were P1 and P2. . .” They finally got that. 

While I have much appreciation for the level that Red Bull and Max have been operating at this year, it was nice to see Ferrari in the spotlight.

Source: The Race

4) Lawson’s Debut 

I definitely did not have this on the cards for F1 in 2023. I’ve followed Liam’s career since his first F2 season in 2021. His talent while competing in both F2 and DTM that year was incredibly promising. It was evident that one day he’d be in F1.   

While I was gutted for Daniel, I was thrilled that Liam would finally get his shot. On a day when many experienced drivers struggled, it was amazing that Liam even finished the Dutch Grand Prix, let alone with a P13 result. It was an impressive job, especially with just one practice session. 

It was in Singapore that Liam shone though, achieving a P9 finish and two points in just his third F1 race. This was 40% of Alpha Tauri’s collective five points at the time, so it clearly meant a lot to the team too. Next race in Japan, Liam was a mere 0.043 seconds off Q3, furthering his outstanding run with Alpha Tauri. 

Lawson’s debut proved he has the capability and mindset to be in the sport full-time. This shouldn’t be the last we see of him in F1.

3) Albon’s Mega Qualifying 

Albon’s performance at Williams this year has been lauded by many. With seven Q3 appearances, he’s done well to get the Williams car so far up the grid. It’s been a positive season for the team, with vast improvements made. 2023 has been a stark cry from their 2019-21 points drought, with a respectable haul of twenty-eight points. 

By far the most surreal of Albon’s Q3 entries was his Zandvoort masterclass, getting the FW45 to P4 for the team. His final Q3 time was just over a tenth slower than P3 – Mercedes’ George Russell. On Sunday, Alex finished P8, adding a solid four points to Williams’ total. 

It’s clear Alex has mastered how to drive the Williams to the absolute limit. My hope for 2024 is that race pace improves so that the team’s Sunday results can match their qualifying performance.

Source: Williams Racing

2) Lando’s P2 in Silverstone 

The first half of 2023 was rough for McLaren. Their form was lacking, and they were fighting for the last of the points positions. Until Silverstone.

It was a stellar weekend for Lando, finishing his home Grand Prix P2. After such a bumpy start to the season, you could see how much a podium lifted the team’s spirits. The complete turnaround (especially after the summer break) was legendary, allowing their brilliant driver pairing of Lando and Oscar to achieve the results the team deserved. 

Source: PlanetF1

1) Oscar’s First F1 Podium 

There was a lot of hype surrounding Piastri at the beginning of the season. As an F2, F3, and Formula Renault Eurocup Champion, he was an exciting addition to the series. It’s fair to say he’s lived up to the expectations, with two F1 podium finishes and a sprint race win to his name

Oscar took his maiden podium in Japan – his first time racing at Suzuka. While he later went on to finish second in the Qatar GP (his best finish), this result in Suzuka was particularly special because he became the first rookie to finish on the podium in six years. The last before Oscar was Lance Stroll in 2017.

Oscar showed a lot of potential for the future this season, demonstrating that he can operate at a high level consistently. With more experience under his belt, 2024 seems bright for him.

Source: Sky Sports F1

Looking forward to F1 in 2024!

I’ve also been closely following 2024 driver announcements for F2 and F3. I’m excited to continue watching the feeder series. The influx of F3 and FRECA drivers into F2, along with the presence of some promising talents from the 2023 season should make for an interesting title fight.

Over the winter break, my family and I have been going back through F1TV’s archives to watch various classic races, such as Schumacher’s first championship win with Ferrari at Suzuka and Jenson Button’s first race win. It’s been very special learning more about F1’s past and the legends that have shaped the sport today. 

Stay tuned for an upcoming piece on Supercars – an interview with commentator Chad Neylon.

Cover Image Source: Motorsporttickets