This years GP2 season has been one of the most interesting and exciting seasons ever. The championship went right down to the wire with both the drivers and constructors title’s up for grabs right until the closing round in Abu Dhabi. The new Pirelli spec tyres had an impact on the season where drivers had to save and look after their tyres much more than they have done before; this made the sprint races as exciting as ever. The season has been full of drama and thrill, but here are my top 10 drivers that have stood out this year.
1. Fabio Leimer
Fabio had a slow ‘ish’ start, but he soon gathered momentum and begun to get very consistent results. As the season went on, Fabio just got better and better, and didn’t fall victim to pressure during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. His consistency was what powered him to win the championship, and a well-deserved one at that.
2. Sam Bird
Sam’s experience and expertise has had a serious effect on his season. He jumped into this year’s car with no understanding of it, yet still took five wins including an unchallenged, dominant win in Monaco. He’s very much a team player, and put all of his focus on Russian Time during the final race in Abu Dhabi. Sam has a lot of talent, and in any series will be a serious threat.
3. James Calado
It was hard to watch James this year. He was one of the favourites to win this season’s championship and after a podium in the opening round it looked plausible. However, his car was just not up to scratch and it was struggling for pace; just look at Abt’s performance compared to James’ and you’ll see how much hard work and graft James had to do to just put his car in the top ten. His efforts paid off as he landed himself a reserve driver role with Force India, which could lead on to a full time role should he continue with the team.
4. Felipe Nasr
Felipe’s season started off well with consecutive podium finishes. He’s a very mature driver, and does have a lot of talent; I just don’t see the extra bite that some of the other drivers have – perhaps that’s what has prevented him from winning a GP2 race, but regardless of that he was always there or thereabouts. Not winning a race didn’t stop him from being a title contender either, as he was in contention right up until the final round in Abu Dhabi.
5. Jolyon Palmer
His wins in Hungary and Singapore highlighted just how quick he can be. He’s entering his fourth season in GP2, and will be one of, if not, the most experienced driver on the grid, and with a team like DAMS (who powered Romain Grosjean and Davide Valsecchi’s championships) he may now have the equipment he needs to become a GP2 champion himself. One of the best overtakers out there, but inconsistency may fault him.
6. Alexander Rossi
There’s a lot of buzz around Alexander at the moment, and if you follow GP2 you’ll understand why. In comparison to his team-mate, Rossi looks incredible, and to follow it up he was the quickest back marker in his FP1 practice session in the USA. He doesn’t make silly mistakes and has the raw pace and potential to make a brilliant race driver.
7. Stefano Coletti
I can’t help but feel a bit gutted for Stefano, he had a mighty first half of the season and looked set on winning the championship quite early on. But something changed drastically, and his points scoring dropped to an extent where he only scored once after Silverstone. His points from the previous rounds were still good enough to leave him fifth in the championship, and despite the latter of the season, he still showed some great craft and skill.
8. Marcus Ericsson
Quite the opposite of Coletti. Marcus had an awful start to the year, where just about everything went wrong. However, after his first win in Germany he picked up the pieces and had one of the best comebacks of the year. By the midseason it was clear that Marcus wouldn’t be able to win the championship, but he consistently finished in the points and ended up sixth in the standings; which isn’t bad at all.
9. Tom Dillmann
Tom has been overshadowed by Bird this season, but nonetheless has had some impressive drives. His drive in Spain was one of the best performances I have ever seen, and along with Sam brought home the constructors championship for Russian Time in just their rookie season. Luck wasn’t on his side, especially in Abu Dhabi, but he has proven to be a quick and reliable driver, and could be someone to watch if he stays in the championship next year.
10. Mitch Evans
A double podium in Monaco is certainly commendable, and arguably would have won the British Grand Prix sprint race had he not had technical problems. Mitch was one of the most impressive rookies of this season, and could be a serious threat given the right car and the right team-mate. One does wonder what the New Zealander can achieve especially with an experienced and intelligent mentor in Mark Webber. He is definitely a driver who has a lot of talent, and could be a star in the future.
Robin Frijns – double podium in Spain, but other than that this season hasn’t been one of his best, however, he is still a driver of quality and deserves a seat in the championship.
Jon Lancaster – missed a few rounds due to funding, similar to Frijns, but Lancaster has a very level head and doesn’t crack under pressure. His back-to-back sprint race wins both came from a well-crafted race from the back of the grid in the feature race; two very credible performances.
Adrian Quaife-Hobbs – nine top ten finishes, two podiums from Monaco and Belgium and a win in Italy proved that he was a consistently quick driver. Swapping teams midseason wasn’t a problem and he adapted to both teams instantly; experience could be all he needs to be a serious title contender.