This week-end takes place the eleventh and last round of GP2 series of the season. It has been a few years since the last time the championship had to be decided on the last round, with only nine points standing between Antonio Giovinazzi and Pierre Gasly.
Giovinazzi: the unexpected one
Antonio Giovinazzi is currently in the lead of the championship by nine points ahead of his teammate. While he was only considered as an outsider in the beginning of the season revealed himself in the European GP by astonishingly winning both races in the week-end.
GP2 was the not Giovinazzi’s first choice this season. Runner-up in the European Formula 3 championship, Giovinazzi was set for a fourth campaign in the series before a change of regulation forbid him to do so. As he already had a taste in endurance racing, the Italian did not except his sponsor, Jagonya Ayam, to provide him a seat in GP2 with Prema.
The first two rounds did not go very well as he did not score any point following multiples incidents and mechanical problems. The turning point was at Baku where he managed to take double victory in his third week-end in the series, placing him back in the championship hunt. When we met him at Hockenheim, he admitted he did not expect to be in the lead of the championship halfway through the season.
Giovinazzi constancy’s and his driving skills, as he proved in Monza, allowed him to be the possible first rookie to claim the GP2 championship in the Pirelli era, doing better than Stoffel Vandoorne. Ferrari offered him a test in the simulator after Monza and Giovinazzi might be in talks with Sauber and Manor for a F1 seat, which he could not hope for nine months ago.
Gasly: a necessary title
In his second season as titular, Pierre Gasly was an undeniable favourite for the title in the beginning of the season. But his lack of victories became a problem as he passed the symbolic and infamous thousand days without a victory.
After a beginning of season filled with points and podiums, he sees his teammate taking the victory from him at Baku. This was an electrochoc for Gasly who reacted at Silverstone, claiming his first victory in the series, followed by two other ones, always in feature races.
Before the season, he told us he needed the GP2 title to get into Formula 1. After the exchange between Max Verstappen and Daniil Kvyat during the season, he could almost touch the Toro Rosso seat in 2017. However, Red Bull decided to retain Kvyat and Sainz, breaking every hope of a seat for Gasly after this GP2 campaign.
Gasly could hardly stay for another year in GP2, even he finished second overall. Some medias said he might follow Stoffel Vandoorne’s path in Super Formula in order to wait for a vacant seat at Toro Rosso.
Marciello: a meriting outsider
Raffaele Marciello ends his first season outside of the Ferrari Driver Academy since 2011 (?) and his third season in GP2. Engaged with Russian Time, his title hopes were difficult to measure before the beginning of the season but after Artem Markelov’s surprising win at Monaco, Marciello proved a great constancy in his results and scored many podiums.
Today, although he is still can claim the title in terms of points, Marciello seems that he can’t beat the Prema drivers and must settle for a third place in the championship, beating some other bigs names like Sergey Sirotkin and Alex Lynn. However, his future is far from clear. A fourth season in GP2 would not make much sense and as he lost Ferrari’s backing, even his former role as Sauber third driver might not be enough for him to reach F1. Furthermore, unlike Giovinazzi, Lynn, Gelael or Evans, Marciello does not have endurance experience, which questions his future.