As another year of Formula 1 racing draws to a close, it is time to look back at how this year's racing unfolded and what we learned about the drivers and teams in TrackDays' 2023 Formula 1 season review.
Following Verstappen's eleven second victory across the Persian Gulf in Bahrain in the season opener, many were predicting a record-breaking season for the Dutch racer – and he did not fail to deliver.
Verstappen ended the season with the most single season wins (19), most consecutive race wins (10), most podium finishes (21), highest points total (575) and largest championship winning margin (290).
However, there was one more record Mad Max had his eyes on when taking to the track in the season finale in Abu Dhabi.
Before the race started, Verstappen had already devised a plan to ensure he would also become the first ever driver to surpass 1,000 laps led in a single season. Along with his engineer, they purposefully planned out their strategy so that he would delay coming into the pits so that he could clock more laps in the lead.
That tells you all about the dominance of the man – they were so confident that they would win in Abu Dhabi that they didn't feel their pit strategy would impact his ability to win the race!
His dominating performance in Abu Dhabi showed how he has no intention of taking his foot off the gas as we move into 2024 as well.
After the race finished, Toto Wolff said that the task of catching up with Max and next season's RB20 car would be like climbing Mount Everest for the rest of the pack.
We think it's more like trying to get to Mars. Max and Red Bull are on a different planet right now.
In Verstappen's wake was where the drama unfolded in the season. Despite another season without a race victory, Hamilton, along with his teammate George Russell, were able to come in second for the Constructors' World Championship… just.
Going into the race, Ferrari was breathing down hard on Mercedes' necks, and if it wasn't for Sergio Perez's five second penalty, they would have pipped them to second place.
Charles Leclerc did all he could as the race unfolded, even slowing up to let Perez climb into second in the hope Perez would create a large enough gap to negate the five second penalty he had been given earlier. It was in vain, however, with Russell managing to cling on by just over a second.
However, this could prove to be the touchpaper that lights up an exciting battle for 2024 (if we remove Red Bull from the equation). Ferrari, Mercedes, McLaren and Aston Martin all had their moments in the year.
By finishing second, Mercedes will be given more prize money, but the higher up a team finishes, the less time they get in the wind tunnel to perfect their car during the off season. It could be said that because they ditched this season's terrible car so early, bringing forward 2024's plans, next season's car has more live test results under its belt.
However, are Mercedes able to move this car forward at a pace that will keep up with the other teams' new iterations.
Waiting in Mercedes' wings is McLaren, who has been the season's most improved. We hope they can build on the massive strides made this year over the winter period and bring a more consistent, season-long fight in 2024. Lando Norris is a fantastic driver and many in the sport hope that he can get his first ever win in 2024.
What about Ferrari? If the team can create a consistent car, this season has proved they are able to compete. However, car consistency has been a hard monkey to shake off their shoulders, especially if we go on how the past decade has transpired.
A special mention must finally go to Alonso and Aston Martin. Alonso is truly one of the greatest racing competitors out there, and some of his performances this year in the Aston were incredible. We hope the Spaniard continues to delight us all in 2024 as Aston inevitably continues to push forward.
Although the Formula 1 season is over for another year, you can still book in for some single seater action yourself and book for one of our Formula 1 Driving Experiences, available to book from dates on our Events Calendar or through purchase of one of our open Gift Vouchers.