Year Ender 2023: 5 biggest highlights from the world of F1

Let us take a look at the top five moments from the world of F1 in 2023 and what made them exciting.

2023 was a smashing year for Max Verstappen and Red Bull with 19 victories of 22 races (REUTERS/Rula Rouhana)

The 2023 Formula 1 season had its fair share of ups and downs. While it was undoubtedly the best year for Max Verstappen and Red Bull with 19 victories in 22 races, there was plenty more drama and action where you’d least expect it. The complete season was entertaining if not the most exciting when it came to wheel-to-wheel racing.

So as we bid adieu to the year 2023, let’s take a look at the top five moments from the world of F1 and what made them exciting.

Fernando Alonso Aston Martin
Fernando Alonso concluded the year with 8 podium finishes (Jewel SAMAD / AFP)

1. Fernando Alonso’s big comeback

Fernando Alonso managed to be a regular on the podium making this a rather eventful year for the legendary Aston Martin driver. The former three-time world champion took a shocking podium finish in the opening race in Bahrain as he battled with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz to snatch third place in the race. He went on to replicate his pace and claimed six podiums in the first eight races of the season including his career’s 100th podium finish in the 2023 Saudi Arabian GP. However, the team couldn’t keep up with the veteran driver and slow development meant Alonso could pick up only two more podiums by the end of the season.

Max Verstappen Dutch Grand Prix
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen passes the chequered flag to win the Dutch Grand Prix (Pool via REUTERS)

2. Max Verstappen dominates the Dutch GP

Max Verstappen came to nearly achieving the ‘GOAT’ status with his performance in the Dutch GP. Red Bull team principal Christian Horner declared him “untouchable” as the best driver in the world after Verstappen managed to drop to 13th due to the double downpour but made his way to the top of the pack lapping two seconds faster than everyone else. The race equalled Sebastian Vettel’s nine-race winning streak and was Verstappen’s eighth victory from pole this season.

Abu Dhabi GP 2023
The Austrian GP became the high point when 47 laps of qualifying were deleted due to drivers exceeding track limits (REUTERS/Rula Rouhana)

3. Track Exceptions

2023 was a messy season due to drivers constantly exceeding track limits. The Austrian GP became the high point of the year when 47 laps of qualifying were deleted. The FIA also reported over 1,200 instances of cars leaving the track during the race. Several drivers ended up with time penalties and another 12 received punishments after the race, which makes for almost half the grid. Three of the top 10 drivers dropped places as a result of the penalties.

Alpha Tauri Daniel Ricciardo
Alpha Tauri had three driver changes in 2023 with Nyck de Vries replaced by Daniel Ricciardo, who was replaced by Liam Lawson (USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con)

4. Musical chairs at Alpha Tauri

Red Bull and its B-team Alpha Tauri are known for swap drivers mid-season but Alpha Tauri took it further with three driver changes throughout the year. The season started with former Formula E champion Nyck de Vries in the seat but he was disposed of after ten races with Daniel Ricciardo stepping in. However, the Australian ended up breaking his wrist and had to take a sabbatical, allowing rookie Liam Lawson some crucial time in the F1 car. Lawson made full use of the opportunity finishing seventh in Mexico, which may help him get a full-time seat in the future.

Carlos Sainz Las Vegas GP 2023
Sparks fly from the car of Ferrari’s Spanish driver Carlos Sainz Jr. as he races during the qualifying session for the Las Vegas GP (Jim WATSON / AFP)

5. Viva Las Vegas

The Las Vegas GP was added to the calendar this year and saw a healthy mix of conversations most outside of racing. With complaints about how the event was organised to a manhole cover damaging Carlos Sainz’s car, the race weekend had a rocky start at best but managed to culminate into an exciting weekend with some action-packed racing at the end of it. Verstappen was penalised for pushing Leclerc off track and even crashed into Russell. But the driver raced to victory with a damaged wing, making it a dramatic win.

First Published Date: 31 Dec 2023, 16:50 PM IST

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