3 worst race performances from Max Verstappen in the 2023 F1 season
The 2023 F1 season has been a dream for Max Verstappen. The Red Bull driver started the season in the same way he ended it, by securing pole position on Saturday and then cruising to a win on Sunday. The fact that the driver accomplished this as many as 19 times this season is astounding and also proof of how well he drove.
There have been dominant cars in the past as well. The Mercedes under Lewis Hamilton was quite dominant for almost a decade but this level of consistency was just not on offer. Max Verstappen accumulated a 10-race win streak during the season and it ended in Singapore where the Red Bull was just out of the working window.
Since then, by the end of the season, Verstappen has already accumulated a seven-race win streak by the last race of the season. In a season like this one could continue to boast about what a great job he did.
Having said that, just like anything else in life, the 2023 F1 season was not perfect by any means. There were still a few races where Max Verstappen might have wanted to do a better job but couldn't in hindsight.
In this feature, we'll take a look at these races as we rank the three worst races for Max Verstappen in the 2023 F1 season.
Max Verstappen's three worst performances this season
#3 Saudi Arabia
It is almost comical to select a race where Max Verstappen finished second as one of his worst races but such was his season and such was the dominance of the Red Bull that bad race meant Verstappen would finish second in the race.
The weekend in Jeddah was not the best for Max as he came to the track already unwell after the race in Bahrain. Facing food poisoning, the Red Bull driver was already not feeling well and when his weekend was put on the back foot due to a reliability issue, doubts emerged for the first time that the driver might struggle to win this one.
These doubts did start to dissipate early in the race when Max Verstappen continued to make his way through the field one by one. He was very fortunate as well by the timing of the safety car as it put him right within catching distance of the lead car of his teammate Sergio Perez.
However, unfortunately, because Sergio Perez had a great baseline performance and Verstappen was a little compromised due to his health, the driver would lose out to his teammate and finish second in the race.
The race in Baku was arguably the highest point for Sergio Perez and the lowest point of Max Verstappen's season. This was the fourth race of the season and by this time it was clear as day that the Red Bull was just on a different level. No team could keep up in the race even though Charles Leclerc had put together a stunning qualifying lap for pole position at Baku.
In the race, Max Verstappen dispatched Charles Leclerc quickly and started to extend the gap at the front. Sergio Perez on the other hand was right behind Verstappen as well. Unlike the pattern that we've seen throughout the partnership, Verstappen could not pull away from his teammate.
Suffering from tire degradation, Verstappen pitted early as Perez was closing him down. An ill-timed safety car Howe cost the Dutchman as he lost the lead to Sergio Perez.
What came next was a surprise as Perez continued to have a decent pace in hand and beat his teammate in a straight fight. Later in the season, Verstappen would reveal that he learned a lot of things during this race that helped him for the rest of the season.
Arguably the only race weekend in the entire season that Max Verstappen did not have the car to win and one could argue that it was one of the rare weekends all season where the driver could not extract the best possible result that would have been on the table.
The Red Bull was just not in the window all weekend and it was due to the bumps playing a part. As a result, teams like Ferrari, Mercedes, and McLaren took advantage of the situation. While Ferrari made the most of the conditions with a front-row lockout, Max was out-qualified by a rookie in an AlphaTauri (Liam Lawson).
The driver did make amends in the race on Sunday but it was not the best result that the driver would have wanted.