Red Bull and Max Verstappen were the rulers of the 2023 season. With many highs and few lows, the team earns a place in the pages of history books.
Red Bull had an incredible Formula One season in 2023 without any doubt. The team was close to achieving what no one else had ever done before – winning all the races on the calendar. With the unstoppable Max Verstappen and the loyal Sergio Perez, the Austrian team can celebrate its hard work. The goal is to do even better in the 2024 season. In the meantime, let’s have a look at the one that just ended.
Off to a great start
In 2022, the first race of the season in Bahrain was painted in red by the 1-2 of the Scuderia Ferrari. The Bulls, on the other hand, couldn’t even finish the race.
This year, things were different. Verstappen took pole, and Perez was right behind him. With a good start, the World Champion had the lead of the race, while his teammate lost a position to Charles Leclerc. However, the Mexican recovered with an overtake on the Ferrari on lap 26 thanks to fresher tyres.
In the end, the two Red Bulls were the ones to celebrate a 1-2 finish, taking home the first important trophies and points.
Things kept going better for the Milton Keynes team. In Jeddah, after a bad qualifying session, Max Verstappen was P15 on the starting grid. Perez was in pole position, but he lost it at the start against Fernando Alonso. The Aston Martin driver had a penalty for his incorrect position on the grid. He then gave up his p1 to the Red Bull number 11. Meanwhile, Verstappen made an excellent comeback, climbing up to second place and marking some fast laps. Red Bull gained the second double podium in a row, this time with Sergio Perez crossing the finish line first.
Baku was a remarkable weekend for Red Bull. Sergio Perez finished in P1 for both the Sprint race and Sunday’s main event. By doing so, Perez became the first driver ever to win on this track twice. Verstappen secured another double podium for his team on race day and broke his first record for this season. The Dutchman had a total of 81 podiums, the same number as Ayrton Senna in his whole career.
Mad Max was also the winner of the Miami GP, the first driver to win on the American track two years in a row. Again, Perez was on the podium with him for the fourth time since the beginning of the season.
Some struggles for Checo
Since the Monaco Grand Prix, things started to be complicated for the Mexican driver. On Saturday, he crashed at the Sainte Devote with 10 minutes left to make it into Q2. Thankfully, he was alright, but the car was severely damaged and he started in P20 the next day. On Sunday, while Verstappen celebrated his first win in Monaco, Perez was only 16th.
He missed Q3 in Spain as well, starting in 11th position for Sunday’s race where he managed to climb up to the 4th place, narrowly missing out on a podium.
In general, in the second half of the 2023 season, Checo’s performances started to dip compared to the beginning of the year. Not that he didn’t score any points or podiums, because he did. But, overall, he had a lot of difficulties, especially in qualifying. While his teammate was gaining pole positions and trophies, he failed even to start in the first rows.
Some particular bad races for the number 11 were Japan and Mexico, his home race. In Japan, he made contact with Hamilton which caused him some damage and had to come back to the pit. He then received a five-second penalty for overtaking Fernando Alonso under the Safety Car. Later, his car had contact with Magnussen which led to a DNF. After all of this, the mechanics had to get his already retired car back on track to serve his previous penalty before calling him back.
As for Mexico, the home favourite couldn’t even complete a lap on race day. Contact with Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari at turn 1 of the first lap led to a very early retirement.
Despite a difficult season, he was still able to close his season as vice-champion. – Red Bull’s first 1-2 in the Drivers’ Championship. However the gap between him and the Champion, Verstappen was 290 points. The gap between 2023’s Champion and Vice-Champion is one for the history books.
Super Max and a super Red Bull
Even whilst his teammate was struggling, Max Verstappen kept getting better and better. He was the ruler of the season, with 19 victories in 22 races. He now holds the record for most podiums in a season (21), 10 victories in a row beating Sebastian Vettel’s record and 6 hat-tricks. The three-time World Champion led 1003 laps this season and had 575 points by the last chequered flag of the season – the most points ever scored by a driver in F1 history.
He won his third title during the Sprint Race in Qatar, the first driver to ever win a Championship in this format. And he still had 5 races left until the grand finale in Abu Dhabi.
The Dutchman is also the 7th driver to win the Championship before a Sunday. He joins this particular Hall of Fame with Juan Manuel Fangio, Jack Brabham, Graham Hill, Nelson Piquet and Keke Rosberg.
Ferrari spoil the perfection party in 2023 😅
— Formula 1 (@F1) November 30, 2023
He single-handedly won Red Bull its 6th Title in the Constructors’ Championship, the second one in a row. The team of Milton Keynes won the title in Japan with still 6 races to go, breaking yet another record. Previously, the record was held by two Formula 1 teams: McLaren in 1988 and Ferrari in 2004 with 5 races left. The Austrian team also holds the record for most points scored (860), beating the Mercedes’ one dating back to 2016 (765).
Red Bull is also the second team in history that almost reached the goal of winning every single race in a season, with 21 victories out of 22 races. The first team to do it was McLaren in their 1988 season. McLaren had won 15 out of 16 races that season with 199 points.
With Verstappen rounding off the season with 575 points he has driven the most dominant season in all of F1 history. Red Bull’s RB19 scored 860 points making it the most dominant drive ever by a team in all of F1 history.