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A checkered flag for the 2023 Formula 1 season

By Emma Djukic, December 12 2023—

Whether you are a long-time fan of the sport or a more recent addition to the ranks, Formula 1 is an international spectacle watched by millions every weekend as the teams compete for speed, success and stardom. But all good things must come to an end, and the 2023 Formula 1 season is no exception. Here are our highlights and lowlights of this memorable year as we say goodbye to our favourite sport until the spring. 

The Final Race

Before we dive into the best and worst moments from this year, here is a quick recap of the last race of the season which took place in Abu Dhabi last weekend. To no one’s surprise, Max Verstappen in the Red Bull took first place with Charles Leclerc from Ferrari in second, the Mercedes driver George Russel in third. The final grab for points and disappointing did not finish (DNF) from the second Ferrari driver, Carlos Sainz, cemented the Constructors Championship rankings, with Mercedes in second, Ferrari in third, followed by Mclaren, Aston Martin, Alpine, Williams, Alpha Tauri, Alfa Romeo and Haas in tenth. Of course, Redbull came in first. Yuki Tsunoda in the Alpha Tauri led the race for five laps, a career-best for him, but was unable to score enough points to beat out Williams in the constructors.


Love him or hate him, there is no doubt that Max Verstappen has dominated this season. The now three-time world champion driving for Red Bull has broken seventeen records this season alone, including but not limited to most wins in a season (19), most points in a season (575), the only driver to win three times in one country (all US Grand Prix’s), and the only driver to lead 1000 laps in every season. 

For newer fans, a Hat Trick is when a driver starts on pole position, finishes first and ends with the fastest lap. Verstappen pulled such a feat in Austria, where he gave up a 24-second lead in first place to pit for new tires in lap 69 of 71 just so he could take the fastest lap away from his own teammate, Sergio Perez. 

Another record broken this year was by McLaren with the fastest pitstop on Lando Norris during the Qatar Grand Prix at 1.80 seconds. What a truly magnificent reminder that Formula 1 has always been, and will continue to be a team sport. Half the fun of watching races is the cut shots to the garages where the engineers are cheering on their drivers. 

The sole non-Red Bull win this season came from the Smooth Operator himself, Sainz, during the Singapore Grand Prix when the Ferrari used Lando Norris in the McLaren as a shield between himself and the hounding Mercedes. In one of the most thrilling races this year, the Spaniard made us have faith again as Red Bull failed to make a showing on the podium. What a dream that was. Russell in the Mercedes, who was set to finish third and above his teammate, Lewis Hamilton, crashed in the barriers in the last lap of the race. Although devastating for Mercedes fans, it sure led to some memorable memes. 

This article wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the Las Vegas Grand Prix. No one had high hopes for the third US race of the season, with concerns ranging from the temperature of the track being too cold for the tires, that the race would be boring, and that the new Las Vegas Sphere would be too distracting for the drivers. And yet, it became one of the most interesting races of the season. Leclerc beat out Perez for second place, the driver’s battles were constant, and the safety car made for some interesting strategy plays. Definitely looking forward to seeing this race on the calendar in future years. 

Fernando Alonso driving for Aston Martin is the oldest driver on the grid but is by no means the slowest. The Spaniard started his season strong, finishing on the podium in four of the first five races. However, the Aston Martin became less competitive as teams added new packages to their cars, and we were sad to see him drop in the driver rankings. Then came the Brazilian Grand Prix. The crowds went wild as Alonso and Perez pushed each other to the limit in the last three laps, overtaking back and forth until the Spaniard pulled ahead and finished in P3 by 0.053 seconds. It truly reminded us how much fun the sport can be. 


And now onto the less enjoyable moments from the year. One of the most popular drivers on the grid, Leclerc had a “season to forget”, as he quoted, following the failure of his hydraulics on the formation lap in the Mexican Grand Prix. It was not the only unlucky moment for the Monacan driver this season, with two DNFs in the first three races of the season alone. 

Although Perez finished the year with second place in the driver’s championship, it is a little disappointing to see such a large gap between him and his teammate. Checo has had a difficult season, which is a shocking thing to hear about the man in second place, but with mistake after a near miss, many fans question whether the second Red Bull seat will remain his. In Mexico, Perez retired in the first lap of his home race, following a collision with Leclerc in the Ferrari, much to the disappointment of his fans. We can’t imagine it is easy to constantly question the security of your place in the team and we wish Perez all the best in the upcoming contract season. 

Mercedes started the season strong and gave Max Verstappen a run for his place on the podium, but their success was short-lived as it became an upward battle to finish each race strong. Hamilton made it clear in many post-race interviews that the car was “difficult to drive”, but the team worked hard to secure their place as second in the Constructors Championship in the end. Russel finished the Drivers Championship in 8th place, with his seven-time World Champion teammate, Hamilton in third.

In the wake of the disaster that was Nick Devries, who raced ten Grand Prixs without earning a single point for his Alpha Tauri team, Daniel Riccardo was asked to replace him midseason from his position as the constructor champions’ reserve driver. However, Riccardo suffered seven bone fractures in his left hand during an ugly crash at the Dutch Grand Prix, and Liam Lawson was asked to once again fill in for Alpha Tauri. Lawson quickly became a fan favourite, however, with Daniel’s full recovery, it was disappointing to see such a talented driver lose his place on the grid. Lawson finished the season with two points, which is more than Logan Seargant who raced for Williams all season and earned his single point at the Austin Grand Prix following the disqualifications of Hamilton and Leclerc for car infractions. 

Although the high capacity for injury in Formula 1 has led to many great developments such as the halo, not everyone is safe on the track. During the Singapore Grand Prix, Alonso ran over a lizard, ending the reptile’s life, much to the despair of fans. Colourful nicknames such as “the lizard killer” quickly began circulating online. This is not the first time a lizard has wandered onto this particular track, with Verstappen’s race Engineer referring to the “Godzilla” on the track last season. We hope that in the future, there will be no more incidents, in Singapore or otherwise.

While this is by no means a comprehensive list, with many more memorable PR disasters, unlikely victories, and unfortunate accidents, these were some of the highlights we wanted to reminisce on as the Christmas Season approaches. My Christmas wishes this year? Lawson to get a seat in F1, the FIA to pull themselves together, and Ferrari to build a competitive car and hire some new strategists. Although the last one might be more of a Christmas miracle.

For more information about Formula 1 and the teams, click here.

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