Top 3 drives from Max Verstappen in the 2023 F1 season
The 2023 F1 season was the 'Max Verstappen show'. The Red Bull driver started the season with a pole and a win in Bahrain and ended the year with a pole and a win in Abu Dhabi. With the kind of advantage the Red Bull had, it became clear after the first few races that the team was going to win both titles.
However, what many would not have expected was Verstappen winning all but three races in the season. Especially since he lost two out of the first four races to his teammate Sergio Perez. However, as the season progressed, it became more and more clear that the Dutchman was unstoppable this season as the car was just too good.
Looking back at the season, sure Verstappen won a huge number of races but it's not as if he wasn't challenged. There were races where the Red Bull driver had to dig deep.
In what was a trademark of his season, these were the races where the Dutch driver truly stood out and it is these races that raise an important question - what were the top three race performances for Max Verstappen this season? Let's take a look.
Max Verstappen's top three drives in 2023
F1 Miami GP
When Christian Horner claimed that the title battle changed in Miami, he was not wrong. Heading into the race, Max Verstappen did have a certain level of pressure on him. While he knew he had the car capable enough of winning the title, his teammate Sergio Perez had beaten him twice in the first four races.
What was even more intriguing to watch was how the race in Baku showed Perez having an edge over Verstappen. That was a straight fight between the Mexican and the Dutchman, and it was the former who prevailed.
Coming to the F1 Miami GP race day. Verstappen had messed up qualifying. He was starting the race in P9 while his primary rival, who had beaten him in a straight fight, was starting the race on pole.
The fact that Verstappen would make his charge through the field to beat Perez in a race where there were no safety car disruptions look so easy was what deflated his teammate's potential title campaign.
Perez was clueless about how he could beat him now and it showed in the rest of the season. Ideally, Verstappen sealed the title in Miami when he broke his teammate and never looked back.
F1 Monaco GP
The race in Monaco is the one where Max Verstappen had all the incentive in the world to make a mistake and lose a win. The Red Bull's advantage over a lap in Monaco was at best marginal. Unfortunately for the team, the race is more or less decided on Saturday on that final Qualifying lap.
For Verstappen to put together that third sector from the gods in qualifying to secure pole position was something different. The Red Bull driver was around two-tenths of a second behind at the end of sector two. From that point onwards, he grabbed his car from the scruff of its neck and somehow pulled the three-tenths out in the third sector.
Then come race day, the Red Bull driver was again faced with multiple trials and tribulations. The biggest one of them all has to be navigating through the tight sections of Monaco in the rain on slick tires.
During that point, if he would have made a mistake, he would have been forgiven as well. But he didn't and turned in a very impressive drive.
F1 Austin GP
There aren't many races this season where Red Bull could claim that the car was not capable of winning the race but Max Verstappen got it done still. The race in Austin has to be the primary example of one such race.
The 2023 F1 US GP was one such race where Red Bull faced competition from both McLaren and Mercedes. The car was not dominant as it had been in quite a few races all season. On the contrary, one could argue that Lewis Hamilton, Lando Norris, and Verstappen had similarly paced cars.
At this stage, it came down to strategy and execution. Verstappen slowly made his way through the field and ended up beating both Lewis Hamilton and Norris to win the race.