A brand-new award for the 2023 FIA Formula 2 and 3 Prize Giving Ceremony, the Aramco Best Performance Award pays tribute to the eye-catching races that stood out during this year’s season.
Such was the level of competition in 2023, the inaugural trophy couldn’t be saved for just one driver, and it was Richard Verschoor and Jack Doohan that were each given separate trophies for their respective efforts in the Spielberg and Spa-Francorchamps Feature Races.
For Verschoor, his win came in glorious sunshine in front of a raucous Dutch crowd gathered at the Red Bull Ring. It was also in the wake of the tragic passing of fellow countryman Dilano van't Hoff.
The Dutch driver says that the events that transpired at Spa prior to the Austrian Feature Race was a hugely tough day, but that he raced in van’t Hoff’s memory, producing a sterling drive to victory on Sunday.
Taking advantage of a late-race Safety Car, Verschoor made his mandatory pitstop and switch to the soft compound tyres without losing much track position.
From there, he guided his #22 Van Amersfoort Racing car past the likes of Victor Martins, Théo Pourchaire and eventually Frederik Vesti to take the lead of the race with a handful of laps to go.
He then resisted a final lap charge from Ayumu Iwasa to hold onto the lead and take a memorable victory, a year after losing a win at the same venue to post-race disqualification.
“It was really a black day in the sport, we all lost a friend here,” Verschoor said in Monaco as he accepted his award. “On Sunday, I think it gave me the strength to do a very good race. It was a very special one.”
Doohan’s exploits included another unlikely turnaround as he transformed his Spa weekend from misery to triumph.
With the majority of the grid caught out by a downpour in Qualifying that meant just a few drivers were able to get a laptime on the board in predominantly dry conditions, the Invicta Virtuosi Racing driver started Sunday’s race from P11 on the grid.
He too was the beneficiary of a well-timed Safety Car, making the switch from mediums to softs and coming out right behind leader Pourchaire.
The Australian bided his time and made the overtake on Lap 23 before running away out in front to take the second of three Feature Race wins in his season.
“It was a really special day for me as well,” Doohan said on stage in Monaco. “We had quite bad luck in Qualifying, it was a hectic session with the rain as I was starting the lap. To come through and to get the win from P11, I had a bit of luck with the strategy but I think that was where we were meant to be anyway.”