Round 1 F1 driver power rankings: No more GP2 engines for Alonso
The first round of the 2023 F1 season is behind us and after an interesting race, I’m back to bring you the latest edition of the F1 driver power rankings.
As always with any power rankings, these are subjective and based purely on opinion mixed with results. Are these 100 per cent accurate? Inside my mind, yes! Outside of it, no. But it’s a nice way to spark some discussion, showcase some form and allow a conversation that brings F1 fans closer together – and maybe also further apart at the same time. Fun right? Always!
Rather than rank all 20 drivers on the grid, I have made it more streamlined and easier by simply bringing the top 10 drivers. With this, a couple drivers have dropped out, and a couple have jumped in after my pre-season rankings.
You can also check out my team power rankings too for a similar analysis.
Let’s get to it.
10. Carlos Sainz Jr (-6)
Getting overtaken by your mentor and idol wouldn’t usually be a bad thing, but given it was done in a car that finished five places lower in the Constructors Championship the year before by a man nearly twice his age would’ve been a bit of a downer for Sainz.
Yes, Aston have come a long way in 2023 and Fernando Alonso is a man reborn, but it definitely wouldn’t have felt good for Sainz having that happen. Outside of that, his pace over one lap was strong, but has a bit to do to catch up with his teammate if he wants to challenge for higher places.
9. Alex Albon (new)
Albon had a great comeback year last year and has brought that form back into 2023. The Williams looks like a car that can challenge for points on a regular basis, and Albon delivered on that promise by bringing the team their first points in an opening race since Felipe Massa finished 6th for the team at the 2017 Australian Grand Prix.
Look out for him for the remainder of the season.
8. Pierre Gasly (new)
It wasn’t looking like a great weekend for the Frenchman in his first ever race in F1 in a non-Red Bull car. However on Sunday that all changed when he managed to drag his Alpine from last to 9th in a stunning drive. A great effort with plenty more to come no doubt in 2023 from him.
7. Valtteri Bottas (-2)
Feels weird to drop him down on this list after his strong weekend, but that goes to show the strength of those around him in the top 10.
Bottas was in fine form in Bahrain and had a couple of good battles with cars higher up than him, before settling for points in eighth place. Expect plenty more points for the Finn for the remainder of the season.
6. Lewis Hamilton (+1)
Hamilton did the best he could with the car he has to finish in a quite strong 5th place. Had some good battles, particularly with Alonso, and actually seemed somewhat happy with the finish at the end of the race.
When Hamilton is happy with only fifth, you know the car isn’t great, but you can’t take away from his performance across the weekend to make the best out of a bad situation.
(Photo by Mario Renzi – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
5. Charles Leclerc (-2)
Charles was on for a podium before his car did what it usually does and blew up. Outside of that moment, he was driving a strong race and doing what he could with his equipment.
Could’ve been on pole on Saturday had Ferrari decided to go for it which shows there is some pace there, but he’ll be hoping for more to come if he hopes to challenge for his first title.
4. Lance Stroll (new)
Wow. An amazing effort by the Canadian to even be in the car, let alone finish in sixth place. He looked great all weekend, constantly being in the top 10 and having some strong battles on Sunday.
Going wheel to wheel with George Russell, especially with his injuries, was a great watch and showed the skill that many people don’t give him credit for.
And when you have a two-time World Champion giving you praise and referring to you as their “hero”, you know you’ve done something right.
Lance Stroll (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images)
3. Sergio Perez (+3)
Lost amongst the performance from the two drivers ahead of him on this list was the performance by Sergio Perez in Bahrain.
Sure it wasn’t flashy or headline grabbing, but it was consistent and strong and exactly what Red Bull needed from him.
He put the car on the front row and then did what was needed from him on the Sunday to finish behind his teammate, delivering maximum points for Red Bull for the first ever time in the opening round of a season.
With Daniel Ricciardo breathing down his neck as a possible replacement, Perez needs to do everything in his power to stay at the team, and results like this are exactly what are required from him. A great race by the Mexican.
2. Fernando Alonso (-)
What else can be said about Alonso’s performance in Bahrain that hasn’t already been said? An amazing result by the Spaniard gave flashbacks to his performances in the mid-2000s that showcased his talents to the world.
Maybe the best thing to come from this performance was the fact that we had an incredibly happy Fernando after the race, which you know has been a long time since we had that when it does legitimately feel weird.
As someone who has never been a big Alonso fan, I was even happy to see what he did on the weekend, and I’m not alone there. It was great to watch, and something that no F1 fan was upset about.
1. Max Verstappen (-)
As dominant a weekend as you really can get. Verstappen is a man possessed at the moment and 2023 is looking like a dangerous year if you are a F1 record. 15 wins in 2022 was a new benchmark. 2023? Don’t count him out for even more.
Max Verstappen (Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
What do you think of these rankings? Do you agree with the positions? Has anybody been left out of the top ten? Let me know what you think in the comments below.
This article was originally written for The Roar. You can read the published version here