Two of them will be grand prix drivers next year but neither of that pair is our number one GP2 driver of 2012. Read on to see who we rated as the feeder series’ top men.
Ferrari’s junior driver is just made for the team: brilliant on his day, he has a habit of making enough mistakes to dash any chance of ultimate glory. 2011 was supposed to be his year but Jules hadn’t reckoned with the might of Grosjean or an utterly hideous start to the campaign. He recovered well enough, taking a deserved win at Silverstone, but Romain was already long gone. Remained consistent thereafter, wracking up points in every race and four more podiums, but was pipped to runner-up spot by a veteran Italian no one gave a hope in hell to (more on him later). Looks likely to end up as third driver at Force India next year, oddly enough.
Christian Vietoris is fast – no question. But he’s also something of a pragmatist, aware that a break in F1 is nigh-on impossible in this economic climate and subsequent success there the stuff of dreams. So he’s already largely given up on single-seaters, putting his faith in the DTM. Fair enough we say. CV was injured early in the 2011 GP2 campaign, missing two rounds, but returned to win twice and finish seventh in points. Has all the ability to be a tin-top great. Good luck to him.
Had it not been for a fair bit of bad luck Charles Pic may well have challenged for the title in 2011. That said the fact he drove for the mighty Addax teams made that a minimum requirement anyway. Undoubtedly quick – particularly in qualifying, evidenced by the fact he gobbled up pole for a third of the races this year – it’s not yet possible to call him the finished article. He’ll race in F1 for Marussia next season, but you worry that this may not be the shrewdest move. His fellow countryman Grosjean could tell him a thing or two about making the leap too early.
Better than Bruno Senna, better than Vitaly Petrov and a sensible choice for Renault in 2012. Many knew that much anyway but Romain made it plain this year. He led a midfield team with impressive maturity, proving smart on the technical as well as driving side. Took a podium at all but one round to seal the championship in Belgium. A very deserving champion who has earned his second crack at F1 the hard way. Kimi Raikkonen will not have an easy ride in 2012.
There may be some sentimentality and emotion in this one but who cares – the Luca Filippi story that developed over the second half of 2011 was just brilliant. Entering his fifth year in a series where drivers only tend to hang about for a season or two, Luca had a mediocre start at Super Nova. Then he switched to Coloni, the team he debuted for in 2006, and all hell broke lose.
He took pole for his 100th GP2 race and promptly won it before triumphing again in Belgium and at home in Italy. Of the eight races he contested for Colini he was in the points all but once, dragged himself from way down the standings to runner-up spot and helped the team to seventh. Without his points they’d have finished dead last.
If the young driver tests had been anything to do with assessing potential stars – and not a money-making operation whereby the teams rented their cars to the highest bidder – Luca would have been in Abu Dhabi. Alas, he’s skint, and will probably never race in F1. Sorry to end on a sour note, but it’s a real shame.