Valtteri Bottas, Alexander Albon, Fernando Alonso, Charles Leclerc, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2023

Alonso’s strong start, Norris’s late surge: Which F1 drivers beat their 2022 scores?

Formula 1

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The end of the 2023 Formula 1 championship marks the completion of the second full season of F1’s newest set of technical regulations.

Many of those drivers who competed in both 2022 and 2023 had very different journeys to their final championship points tallies.

Looking at how certain drivers’ points totals evolved throughout the two 22-race seasons, it becomes clear to see just how strikingly different – or similar – their years progressed.

Sergio Perez – Red Bull

In 2022, Sergio Perez missed out on second in the drivers’ championship by just three points. This season, he finally achieved that runner-up spot at his third time of asking as a Red Bull driver – but arguably with a worse season than last year. Indeed, he scored fewer points with the RB19 than its less dominant predecessor.

Perez enjoyed a much stronger start to the year, helped by two victories in Saudi Arabia and Azerbaijan. But while his points scoring followed a similar pattern through the middle phase of the season, a relatively poor run of just 21 points in the five rounds between Singapore and Mexico meant that while he finished one place higher in 2023, he had 20 fewer points than 2022.

That unusual outcome arose despite this year having the same number of events as last season, plus an extra three sprint races offering a total of 24 points between them.

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Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes

Neither of these two seasons went how Hamilton or Mercedes would have wanted with not even a single race victory across them. However, it is curious how Lewis Hamilton’s 2023 seemed to run opposite to his 2022 campaign.

Hamilton performed much more strongly in the opening half of this season than he did last year, sitting almost 50 points ahead of where he was the previous season after the eighth round in Canada. But despite securing third in the drivers’ championship by the end of the season, Hamilton’s unremarkable finish to the year meant he actually ended up scoring fewer points than the year before.

George Russell – Mercedes

George Russell was open about his disappointment with his 2023 season by the season’s end and it is not hard to see why. Although Mercedes were not as strong as they had hoped to be in either season, Russell consistently built up points over the first half of 2022, only failing to finish in the top five for the first time at Silverstone, round ten of the championship.

However, 2023 was a more challenging season for Russell who only took two podium finishes across the entire season. By the end of the year, he was four points lower than he had been the previous year, and exactly 100 points shy of his 2022 tally.

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Charles Leclerc – Ferrari

Arguably no driver suffered a greater change in fortunes between 2022 and 2023 than Charles Leclerc. Three rounds into 2022, the Ferrari driver had two wins and was sitting comfortably on top of the championship. Fast-forward one year, he was down in tenth place with just six points to his name.

Leclerc would recover to put in a decent showing over the rest of the season, outscoring his team mate who won Ferrari’s only grand prix of the season, but that slow start took him out of any contention at the top of the table.

Carlos Sainz Jnr – Ferrari

Unlike his team mate, Carlos Sainz Jnr endured a difficult start to 2022. After back-to-back retirements in Australia and Emilia-Romagna, Sainz picked up momentum and took his maiden grand prix victory at round ten at Silverstone.

With increased competition at the front of the field but Red Bull and Max Verstappen hoarding the biggest points at the top, Sainz added only modest points to his tally over the 2023 season. He was the only driver to win a race in a car that was not an RB19, but he couldn’t match his tally from 2022.

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Lando Norris – McLaren

The story of Lando Norris’ 2023 campaign is one of the most dramatic examples of in-season improvement in modern Formula 1. McLaren started 2023 with a car that struggled to get out of Q1. But after months of hard work behind the scenes, a major upgrades package for round nine at the Austrian Grand Prix transformed Norris’s and McLaren’s seasons.

After Austria, Norris was a regular contender for podiums, poles and even victory. While the top step of the podium eluded him, Norris ultimately scored more points than he ever had in a grand prix season by a large margin.

Fernando Alonso – Aston Martin

What a difference a change of team can make. When Fernando Alonso joined Aston Martin from Alpine for 2023, he had only modest expectations about how his new team would perform. But after just six rounds, he not only had 89 more points than after six rounds from the year before, he had also scored more than his entire 2022 campaign with Alpine.

Although Aston Martin faded over the course of the 2023 season, Alonso still picked up additional podiums in Zandvoort and Interlagos. He held onto fourth place in the drivers’ championship and thrashed team mate Lance Stroll in the process.

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Esteban Ocon – Alpine

While Alonso enjoyed great success in a new environment, his former Alpine team mate Esteban Ocon did not have such an enjoyable time in 2023. Ocon out-scored Alonso in their second and final season together in 2022, but points proved harder to come by in the opening phase of 2023.

An excellent third place in Monaco added a major boost to Ocon’s points tally. But over the second half of the season he could not match his points from the year before as rival teams occupied most of the points paying positions.

Alexander Albon – Williams

Alexander Albon impressed many in his first season with Williams in 2022, returning to the F1 grid after a year on the sidelines. But just a single point at the opening race of 2023 in Bahrain over the early phase of the season suggested it would be a tough year for Albon and his team.

However, a seventh place finish in Canada kick-started his campaign. Six more top ten finishes over the rest of the season not only took him to 12th in the championship, it helped Williams secure their best championship finish in the constructors’ standings since 2017.

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Yuki Tsunoda – AlphaTauri

Yuki Tsunoda was another driver whose 2023 season was almost the opposite of his 2022. The AlphaTauri driver picked up points in round one in 2022 before a strong seventh place finish at Imola jumped him up to ten points. After that though, he only scored twice more over the rest of the season.

In 2023, AlphaTauri endured a more difficult start, languishing at the bottom of the championship for several rounds. But a series of upgrades introduced over the second half of the season allowed Tsunoda to take multiple strong top 10 finishes and surpass his 2022 total with three rounds remaining.

Valtteri Bottas – Alfa Romeo

Valtteri Bottas could hardly have hoped for a stronger start to his tenure at Alfa Romeo in 2022 than with a sixth place finish in his first race with the team. Points in seven of the first ten rounds helped Alfa Romeo to a healthy points tally that allowed them to hold onto sixth in the constructor’s championship, despite hardly any top ten finishes in the later part of the season.

Sadly, Alfa Romeo could not carry that momentum into 2023. Despite kicking off the season with eighth in Bahrain, Bottas only scored three more times over the remaining 21 rounds, leading him well short of his 2022 tally and dropping Alfa Romeo down to ninth in the championship.

Kevin Magnussen – Haas

The comeback story of 2022, Kevin Magnussen returned to the sport after a year away by storming to a top five finish on his first race back in Bahrain. Over the course of the season, he continued to take occasional points finishes while young team mate Mick Schumacher struggled to match him.

In 2023, however, Magnussen accumulated less than half of the points he picked up in just the opening race of 2022. Although he was hamstrung by a disappointing Haas car that struggled with tyre wear all season long, Magnussen was regularly out-performed by returning team mate Nico Hulkenberg and ended the season with just a third of his points score.

All drivers’ 2022 and 2023 points scores compared

Max Verstappen575454+121
Sergio Perez285305-20
Lewis Hamilton234240-6
Charles Leclerc206308-102
Fernando Alonso20681+125
Lando Norris205122+83
Carlos Sainz Jnr200246-46
George Russell175275-100
Lance Stroll7418+56
Pierre Gasly6223+39
Esteban Ocon5892-34
Alexander Albon274+23
Yuki Tsunoda1712+5
Valtteri Bottas1049-39
Nico Hulkenberg90+9
Zhou Guanyu660
Kevin Magnussen325-22

Excludes drivers who did not contest full seasons in 2022 or 2023.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...
Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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9 comments on “Alonso’s strong start, Norris’s late surge: Which F1 drivers beat their 2022 scores?”

  1. So Mercedes had 1 more year to develop their car, spend another 300-500 million, at various points claiming there was improvements and making steps forward and Lewis unlike in 2022 was back to form.

    Result Lewis scored 6 points less in 2023 than he did in 2022.

    All the fans complaining the advantage is locked in but both Mercedes and Ferrari effectively took a step backwards while McLaren and Aston Martin did manage to take a step forward.
    Mercedes scored 106 points less in 2023
    Ferrari scored 148 points less in 2023

    Interesting to see that despite 19 wins, 3 more sprint podiums and all top 5 finishes that Max didn’t have the biggest gain with 121 points but that it was Alonso having 125 points more in AM (5th in constructor) 2023 than Alpine (4th in constructor) 2022.

  2. “Excludes drivers who did not contest full seasons in 2022 or 2023.”
    Why is there no graph showing 2022 vs 2023 points development for Max Verstappen?

    There is Perez, Lewis, Russell, Norris, Alonso, Ocon etc but no Max?

  3. Bottas’es graph shows a very sad state of affairs in Alfa Romeo – their car stopped being competetive after round 9 of 2022 and that has never changed since.

    1. It was good – or Bottas was in las Vegas, But Alonso took him out of the race efectively.

  4. I’m guessing there must be a mistake about russell, or I can’t understand anyway: “By the end of the year, he was four points lower than he had been the previous year, and exactly 100 points shy of his 2022 tally.”

    I don’t see how he was 4 points lower, even if you meant that further back into 2022 he was already 4 points higher than he ended 2023 with, I don’t see any race where he had 4 more points.

    1. I guess it’s meant to say 4 places

  5. Leclerc will be relieved that he outscored Sainz – if only just. But that’s not supposed to be his goal. As someone partial to Ferrari, it’s hard not to be disappointed that he’s not making that step that Verstappen made in 2018. Even if he didn’t yet have the car to challenge for more than a few wins, he was always performing, always present.

    Hamilton made quick work of Russell and there can now be no doubt that the stories – labelled excuses – that Hamilton was doing a lot of weird set-up work in early 2022 were very much true. The second those stories stopped he hasn’t had to think about Russell much at all.

    The Bottas graph is interesting. They had a decent concept, but the development at Sauber has been very bad. Audi would do well to invest in that team and their facilities early, or risk spending the first few years of their F1 campaign looking silly.

    1. Hamilton made quick work of Russell

      Did he really? Russell’s points don’t reflect his performance similar to Leclerc.

      Leclerc wasn’t even bothered about that P5 or whatever. Once he got that Suzuka upgrade he left Carlos in the mud.

      1. If the points don’t reflect performance over an entire 20+ race season there’s an issue. Especially if it happens repeatedly, as with Leclerc. Now sure, I doubt there’s anyone who will argue that Sainz is the on-paper faster driver at Ferrari, but potential that doesn’t result in points is not particularly useful. Leclerc is there to be Ferrari’s counter to Verstappen.

        Similarly, while Hamilton had an uncharacteristic number of scruffy qualifying sessions, especially in the second half of the season, Russell for his part messed up more than a few good results in the races and rarely outpaced Hamilton.

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