Well, it happened; Lewis Hamilton finally took his record eighth Driver’s World Championship to stand alone on top of the list of the greats in Formula One – and it happened in truly stunning fashion.
No, you did not just bang your head and read all of this wrong, you read just what would have happened in the 2023 F1 World Championship in the alternate universe where Red Bull did not exist and all the points were distributed to everyone else.
Despite not even finishing in the top three when it came to most wins in 2023, he remained a consistent force along the way with 11 podiums to his name and only two races outside the points to storm home to his record-breaking World Championship.
As has been the case with my other articles in this series, this of course takes into consideration that each race would play out the same and just remove Red Bull from the results. Of course, it is not that simple, but for a bit of fun, that is what I have done. That is how Hamilton is an eight-time World Champion.
(Photo by Michael Potts/BSR Agency/Getty Images)
Before I show the final results in the Driver’s Championship, Hamilton did go into the final race in Abu Dhabi in a tight battle against Fernando Alonso, who had led the Championship pretty much all year.
Hamilton led Alonso by 20 points heading into the final race, meaning he only needed to finish in sixth place or higher to secure the title. While based on the race results redistributed he finished seventh, Alonso did not achieve the win with the fastest lap he needed to secure the title on countback, handing Hamilton the magical eighth crown.
It still gave us an entertaining alternative battle right until the death, with the final standings looking like this:
1st – Lewis Hamilton – 330pts
2nd – Fernando Alonso – 314pts
3rd – Charles Leclerc – 289pts
4th – Carlos Sainz Jr – 283pts
5th – Lando Norris – 277pts
6th – George Russell – 248pts
7th – Oscar Piastri – 156pts
8th – Lance Stroll – 131pts
9th – Pierre Gasly – 107pts
10th – Esteban Ocon – 102pts
11th – Alexander Albon – 65pts
12th – Yuki Tsunoda – 47pts
13th – Valtteri Bottas – 29pts
14th – Nico Hulkenberg – 20pts
15th – Zhou Guanyu – 18pts
=16th – Daniel Ricciardo – 12pts
=16th – Kevin Magnussen – 12pts
=18th – Liam Lawson – 9pts
=18th – Logan Sargeant – 9pts
20th – Nyck de Vries – 0pts
It was an incredibly close battle all season, with six different drivers from four different teams winning races.
As mentioned, Hamilton amazingly did not even finish in the top three most winningest drivers for 2023. He finished fourth with three wins, two behind Charles Leclerc and Lando Norris, who won five each, and three behind Fernando Alonso, who won six races. Carlos Sainz took two wins, while Aussie Oscar Piastri won in Qatar.
Hamilton also won the title with only one pole position to his name, the actual pole he secured in the real Championship in Hungary. Leclerc was the king of qualifying, securing ten poles, with teammate Sainz next best with three. Alonso, Norris and George Russell secured two poles each, while Piastri and Nico Hulkenberg ended up with one.
Podiums wise is where Hamilton did make up the ground. With 11 podiums, he finished equal first for the season with Alonso, who was two clear of the Ferrari pair of Sainz and Leclerc. Norris finished with eight, Russell with six, Piastri and Lance Stroll with three while the Alpine duo of Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly secured two and one podiums respectively.
It all came down to consistency for Hamilton, which was the key to his success. But did that then translate over to Mercedes for the Constructor’s Championship?
The battle went down to the final race of the season between Ferrari and Mercedes, but of course this time for first rather than second.
1st – Mercedes – 578pts
2nd – Ferrari – 572pts
3rd – Aston Martin – 445pts
4th – McLaren – 433pts
5th – Alpine – 209pts
6th – Williams – 74pts
7th – AlphaTauri – 60pts
8th – Alfa Romeo – 47pts
9th – Haas – 32pts
Just like in the real world, Mercedes pip Ferrari in the closest of margins to claim their ninth Constructor’s Championship to move them into equal second place with Williams in the overall tally.
It is another astonishing feat given that the three wins claimed by Hamilton were the only three by the team all season, with McLaren, Aston Martin and Ferrari all achieving more than double the wins of the German team.
Ferrari would feel particularly aggrieved given they won seven races and secured 13 poles and had the same amount of podiums as Mercedes. But when it came to overall consistency, Mercedes took the cake.
It is interesting to note that in this scenario, seven of the nine teams secured a fastest lap across 2023, with only Haas and Alpine failing to do so. Five of the nine teams scored at least one podium and one pole position as well.
So while this is all fantasy, it’s an interesting concept that does showcase just how close the battle in 2023 was when it came to all the teams that weren’t from Austria.
This article was originally written for The Roar. You can read the published version here