Who are the biggest under and overachievers in Formula One in 2023?

Published on 2 July 2023 at 20:00

The 2023 Formula One Season has yet again seen a dominant display from the Dutch maestro Verstappen. In fact, this dominance has been so overwhelming that the only real storylines occur amongst the drivers who are making the most of a difficult situation or indeed quite the opposite.


Therefore, today we will be looking at several drivers who have either underperformed on their expectations or significantly overreached them.


Alex Albon - Overachiever


Alex Albon (right) with teammate Logan Sargeant - Dan Mullan/Getty Images


The man who was shunned by Red Bull, Alex Albon is showing why they may be regretting that decision now. The Thai-British driver has shown his talent this season and picked up all seven of William’s points in the constructor standings. His drive in Canada showed his Herculean defensive capabilities as he held off supposedly much better cars by expertly utilising the William’s superior straight line speed and his own intuition for where to place the car.


Albon's average finishing position of 14.1 is better than teammate Sargeant's 15.0 despite the Thai driver only completing 6 of the 8 possible races so far. Add to that his average qualifying position of 12.6 (according to formula1points.com) to the 17.8 of his teammate show that he has far superior one lap pace to his rookie teammate. In fact, Albon's propensity for qualifying has lead to the London born driver making two Q3 appearances despite operating machinery that has no right to make it there.


Albon's stellar drive in Canada may have put him in the spotlight this season, but he has been consistently putting his Williams higher on the grid than it should be and outperforming all expectations. He has certainly overachieved this season.

Lance Stroll - Underachiever


Whilst he is the son of team boss Lawrence Stroll, the Canadian driver has arguably never been under more pressure in F1 than this season. With Aston Martin finally making significant progress towards the front of the field and his teammate scoring an astounding 117 points (80 more than the 24 year old) to sit third in the driver's standings, Lance has been quite disappointing.


He is well established in this team now having joined them back in 2019 when they were branded as ‘Racing Point’, so the fact that Stroll sees himself being dispatched with such ease (even if it is by double world champion Fernando Alonso) will be a major disappointment to the Canadian.


Lance Stroll has averaged a qualifying position of 9.7, significantly less than the 4.2 of Alonso. Furthermore, he has been going backwards in the race fairly often, finishing with an average position of 10.5. A nightmare in Monaco and various underwhelming performances have really heaped the pressure on Stroll, he has definitely underachieved this year.


Nico Hulkenberg - Overachiever 


Now back to the positives with German driver Nico Hulkenberg. With this being the 35 year old's first full year back in the sport after three years, many would have expected 'the Hulk' to struggle with the demands of Formula One. However, he has dealt with it all magnificently well.


Outperforming his well established teammate fairly comfortably, with four Q3 appearances to just one for the Dane and an average qualifying position a whole three grid spots clear of his teammate at 11.1, Hulkenberg has shown his talents this season. Whilst he has been unable to convert these impressive qualifying performances, the Haas car does seem to be the issue with both drivers reporting high levels of tyre degradation.


Therefore, Hulkenberg's ability to get his fairly meek machinery into good positions displays his excellent performances this season and proves why he is on this list as an overachiever.


Charles Leclerc - Underachiever 


Charles Leclerc looking dejected - LAT Images


Where to start with Charles Leclerc. Last season, after eight rounds, the Monegasque driver had 109 points and was still, albeit loosely, in a title fight with Max Verstappen. This season, after the same amount of races (at the time of writing), Leclerc has just 54 points and sits a whopping 149 points behind championship leader Verstappen.


Whilst he has suffered two retirement's thanks to car issues, Leclerc has still struggled to deliver whilst on the track finding it surprisingly difficult to charge through the field when starting further back than expected (such as in Barcelona where he started P19 and only recovered to P11 by the chequered flag).


However, it is not just in the race where Leclerc has disappointed, with an average qualifying result of 7.4 to teammate Sainz's 4.4. Whilst strategy blunders and reliability issues have hampered him, it is impossible to ignore the fact that the Monegasque driver has underachieved this season.


Yuki Tsunoda - Overachiever


Now, you might be wondering why Yuki Tsunoda has made it onto this list despite picking up just two points after eight rounds of the 2023 season, however, when digging a little deeper it becomes clear that the Japanese driver has been having a stellar season for the Faenza based outfit.


The 23 year old has an average qualifying position of 14th, considerably clear of his teammate Nyck de Vries' who typically starts around the 16th grid spot. On top of this, Tsunoda tends to gain around two positions on a Sunday showing the brilliant race pace the Japanese driver possesses in an unimpressive car.


Whilst he has slightly tailed off from that excellent run of five consecutive finishes in 10th and 11th, the 23 year old has dealt with the pressure of being the team leader for the first time very well and is comfortably outperforming a teammate who many presumed would get the better of him. Yuki Tsunoda has certainly overachieved this season.


Sergio Pérez - Underachiever


Rounding out our lineup we have the experienced Mexican, Sergio Pérez. Now perhaps this is harsh, after all ‘Checo’ is P2 in the standings having won twice this season and is only behind the outrageously talented Max Verstappen, however, Pérez is lagging behind to a ridiculous degree.


He has averaged a qualifying position of around eighth on the grid, far behind the 3.6 of his teammate Verstappen. At the time of writing, Pérez is 70 points behind Verstappen after just eight races, despite being only 16 behind after the Miami Grand Prix just four races ago. Since then, the 33 year old has failed to reach Q3 on four separate occasions and now, sits just ahead of Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso.


Therefore, whilst he is still second in the driver's standings, the fact that he is so far behind his teammate and only just outperforming those behind in much weaker machinery means that Sergio Pérez has underperformed in 2023.


But is there anyone that you disagree with? Did we miss anyone out? Let us know in the comments or on social media.



Ben Watts

Add comment


There are no comments yet.