The new Formula One season is just around the corner, as the Bahrain Grand Prix roars to life this weekend. Here at Defector, this means that we needed to update a very important piece of journalism: Our annual "Formula One Drivers, Sorted Into Sweeties And Enemies" list.
Last year's version saw a clean sweep of the top two spots by the Ferrari boys, Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz. On the flip side, Max Verstappen, fresh off the controversial ending to the 2021 season, led the way for the enemies cohort, alongside the now-departed Nicholas Latifi and the always hateable Lance Stroll.
This year's ranking committee, which lives in the #vroom-vroom channel of Defector's Slack, had a few new faces, which helps explain the difference in rankings from last year. For example, Verstappen has climbed out of the "Enemies" tier, mostly due to his world-conquering dominance last season; he is now in the middle morass of our Sweeties and Enemies grid.
As a refresher, the definitions of "Sweetie" and "Enemy" are in the eye of the beholder, though looking at each list, a few templates began to appear. The "Sweeties" are by and large gregarious and/or charming in Drive to Survive and on social media. They are also all cute or hot, or both. We are simply here for the babes behind the wheel.
On the other end, this year's crop of "Enemies" boils down to three different types of driver. Oscar Piastri and Logan Sargeant are rookies, and therefore have not done much to earn the ire of our committee, or earn enough love to climb out of this tier, either. On the flip side, George Russell and Lance Stroll are in the "young guy who just annoys everyone by existing" category, with Stroll picking up almost a clean sweep of last-place rankings from our committee. And Nico Hulkenberg is a victim of replacing moderately beloved Mick Schumacher, as well as returning to the main grid after a lengthy stint as Aston Martin's reserve driver. He might yet race his way out of the "Enemies" list for next season.
Anyway, without further ado, here are our choices for Formula One Sweeties and Enemies for the 2023 season:
Formula One Sweeties
Formula One Enemies