Ranking the 2023 F1 driver line-ups

As the start of the new 2023 Formula 1 season closes in, which team has the best driver line-up this year?


The strength in depth of the 2023 Formula 1 grid is excellent, no matter who you like or dislike in this year’s field, with plenty of young talent and multiple champions in Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso.

Just four teams have kept the same driver pairing from last year for 2023 as the driver market had a big shake-up following confirmation of Sebastian Vettel‘s retirement, which triggered a series of moves.

Three rookies have joined the F1 field, Oscar Piastri, Nyck de Vries and Logan Sargeant, so which team has the best driver line-up?

10) Williams: Alex Albon – Logan Sargeant

Ranking 10th to seventh is very difficult but it’s so difficult to say how good Alex Albon‘s 2022 campaign was against a really poor Nicholas Latifi.

Looking at Albon‘s time at Toro Rosso and Red Bull, he’s probably in the middle of the grid at best in terms of quality.

Throw in the unknown of debutante Sargeant, who somewhat fell over the line to secure a super licence in the second half of the Formula 2 season, and Williams narrowly take the wooden spoon.

9) Alfa Romeo: Valtteri Bottas – Zhou Guanyu

Zhou Guanyu earned his right to be on the grid, but he needs to step up his game and the signs from 2022 suggested that might not happen.

Arguably, his debut at the 2022 Bahrain Grand Prix was his best weekend performance and his spell in F2 also indicated he doesn’t improve over time.

Valtteri Bottas can be very good over one lap, it’s just his race pace and racecraft which can let him down.

Knowing the tricks of the trade to follow a car in front whilst managing your tyres is pivotal when racing in the midfield, which is a weakness of Bottas.

Zhou Guanyu and Valtteri Bottas at the 2023 Alfa Romeo season launch | Alfa Romeo F1 team

8) AlphaTauri: Yuki Tsunoda – Nyck de Vries

The toughest line-up to rate is AlphaTauri. Yuki Tsunoda showed so much promise as a junior and there is a huge if as to whether 2023 will finally see him make a breakthrough in F1.

Tsunoda could find himself in the running for a Red Bull seat, or be out of F1 altogether, that’s how big this year is for him.

Nyck de Vries was very impressive in his one-off appearance for Williams at the Italian GP in September, but can he perform week in, week out?

Both are vulnerable to mistakes too so it could be a rollercoaster season at AlphaTauri.

Nyck de Vries and Yuki Tsunoda at the 2023 AlphaTauri launch | Getty Images/Red Bull Content Pool

7) Haas: Kevin Magnussen – Nico Hulkenberg

Conversely, we have Haas next who, in theory, have a much safer pair of hands. Kevin Magnussen didn’t exactly shine against Mick Schumacher in the second half of 2022 though and Nico Hulkenberg is surely past his best.

When Hulkenberg made substitute appearances at Racing Point in 2020 and Aston Martin in 2022, he was excellent.

However, he will be expected to at least match Magnussen this year to show Haas made the right choice by signing him. Experience puts this line-up in the middle of the midfield.

6) Alpine: Esteban Ocon – Pierre Gasly

Alpine have two one-time race winners and a pairing which might not get on, even though they both say their feud is now something of the past.

Ocon was not as good as Fernando Alonso during their time as teammates, suggesting he’s not in the elite crop of drivers.

Gasly is in the same boat, so it’s a case of two very good, but not amazing, drivers at Alpine.

Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly | Alpine F1 team

5) Aston Martin: Lance Stroll – Fernando Alonso

Why is Aston Martin ranked higher than Alpine you ask? The difference between the Alpine pair and Alonso, who is better than both, is bigger than the deficit Stroll has to Gasly and Ocon. Make sense? Hopefully it does.

That’s a matter of opinion of course, but Alonso is just so good on race days and was a match for Ocon last year in qualifying too.

Stroll is very inconsistent and will almost certainly have same days when he is a long way off Alonso, then a few performances which set the world alight.

4) McLaren: Lando Norris – Oscar Piastri

McLaren have a very exciting line-up in Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri, which could even be ranked a bit higher by the end of 2023.

Norris has been outstanding over the last two years, completely dominating Daniel Ricciardo in every department.

Meanwhile, Piastri is the most exciting rookie to join F1 since George Russell and has been tipped to be a future world champion after consecutive junior single-seater promotions in F3, F2 and into F1.

Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri with the 2023 McLaren F1 car | McLaren F1 Team

3) Ferrari: Charles Leclerc – Carlos Sainz

Charles Leclerc is the driver to beat over one lap on his day with his stunning speed and ability to find the limit of the car when it matters in qualifying.

He has improved his race pace significantly too, although has a mistake in him when the pressure is at its highest on a weekend.

Carlos Sainz doesn’t quite have the same consistency as Leclerc and probably lacks an edge when it comes to pure pace which is why Ferrari are third on the list.

Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz | Scuderia Ferrari

2) Red Bull: Max Verstappen – Sergio Perez

Max Verstappen is the best driver in F1 at the moment for reasons you can read about in an article here, after he wrapped up his second world title at the Japanese GP last year.

Similarly to the Aston Martin and Alpine comparison, Verstappen‘s advantage over the Ferrari drivers is bigger than what Sergio Perez lacks to Leclerc and Sainz.

Perez is a handy driver to have on Sundays, but is the weak link out of F1‘s big three teams. Most drivers would look average against Verstappen though to be fair.

Pole position for Max Verstappen of Red Bull and second placed Sergio Perez ahead of 2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

1) Mercedes: Lewis Hamilton – George Russell

No questions about which team is at number one. You have Lewis Hamilton, who is considered by many as the greatest F1 driver of all-time, along with a brilliant, proven talent in George Russell.

Crucially, Hamilton has showed no indications of slowing down and is still seen as the favourite to come out on top in a battle between the Mercedes pair, even though Russell finished ahead in the 2022 standings.

Russell demonstrated he is more than worthy of a top seat with a very impressive first campaign at Mercedes.

Don’t be surprised to see this head-to-head get very dramatic in 2023…

Lewis Hamilton and George Russell in a pre-season photoshoot | Mercedes F1 Team
Nigel Chiu
Nigel Chiuhttps://total-motorsport.com/author/nigel-chiu/
Nigel Chiu is an NCTJ-qualified journalist who worked at Total-Motorsport for 18 months until May 2023. He has been following F1 since 2007 and hasn’t missed a Grand Prix weekend since. Nigel’s worked with several motorsport websites, plus Eurosport and subsequently went on to work with Sky Sports F1 where he travels to multiple F1 races each season.
- Advertisment -


Charles Leclerc Monaco GP record: Ferrari star out to banish seven-year curse

After growing up in Monaco, Charles Leclerc must know the streets of Monte Carlo like the back of his...
Joey Logano leads the field at the NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro Speedway | NASCAR

Was the NASCAR All-Star Race’s option tyre a success?

The NASCAR All-Star Race is often used as a testing ground for concepts that might be incorporated into points...
McLaren F1 launch bespoke Senna livery for the 2024 Monaco GP | McLaren

McLaren unveil stunning Senna tribute livery for 2024 Monaco GP

McLaren have announced a special Ayrton Senna-inspired livery for the 2024 Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix, celebrating the legendary...
Lewis Hamilton during 2024 Australian GP | Mercedes / Sulay Kelly

Race to replace Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes down to two candidates

As Lewis Hamilton prepares to leave Mercedes for Ferrari ahead of the 2025 Formula 1 season, there has been...
Ollie Bearman with his new helmet ahead of his practice outing in Imola for Haas

Haas boss outlines how Oliver Bearman can secure 2025 F1 seat after Imola audition

Oliver Bearman has been hailed for his faultless performance by Haas team principal Ayao Komatsu in practice at the...

Esteban Ocon tempted by Mercedes 2025 switch as Alpine doubts emerge

Esteban Ocon has opened the door to replacing Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes, as the Alpine driver ponders his future...
Toto Wolff at 2023 United States Grand Prix | Mercedes / Sebastian Kawka

Toto Wolff ‘can’t wait’ to prove Horner wrong after latest Mercedes jibe

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has fired back at Christian Horner for suggesting over 200 employees left Mercedes for Red...
Race winner Max Verstappen and runner-up Lando Norris of McLaren celebrate on the podium after the 2024 Emilia Romagna GP | Mark Thompson/Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

F1 Winners and Losers from 2024 Emilia Romagna GP

Lando Norris' miraculous late-race pace brought a previously lacklustre 2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix to life as the McLaren...
Max Verstappen leads Lando Norris of McLaren at the start of the 2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

F1 Driver Ratings – Emilia Romagna GP 2024

Max Verstappen returned to the top of the podium after seeing off a late challenge from Lando Norris to...
Scott McLaughlin at 2024 Indy 500 Pole Day | Penske Entertainment: Joe Skibinski

Scott McLaughlin secures pole for Indy 500, as Team Penske sweep front row

Scott McLaughlin clinched the P1 Award in IndyCar's Fast Six qualifying for the 108th Indy 500, leading Team Penske...
- Advertisment -