Following a summer break like their respective Formula 1 counterparts, the GP2 and GP3 series kicks back into life next weekend in Belgium with both championships finely poised. With four rounds remaining in GP2 and just three in GP3, there’s no margin for error among the next generation of racers fighting to prove their worth.
Stefano Coletti leads Felipe Nasr by just six points (135-129), with Fabio Leimer a bit further back with 110. Coletti starred during the first part of the season as he utilised his experience and improved tyre knowledge to open up a huge championship lead. His charge has stuttered recently with just one points finish across the past six races. Astonishingly Nasr has yet to win a race but is in the title fight thanks to his consistency. Nasr rarely gets into trouble and frequently turns up the pace during the closing stages of the race.
Swiss racer Leimer enjoyed a couple of feature race wins and has improved recently after an initial slump. Mercedes simulator driver
Sam Bird (92) pulled off a trio of classy wins – the best in Monaco – to sit in fourth place in the championship with the new Russian Time team. James Calado (90) has had a low key season, mainly masked by the problems with ART. The French squad has struggled this season and Calado was hindered by chassis damage following a hefty shunt in Malaysia. With a ‘perfect weekend’ coming with a haul of 48 points, it’d be brave to rule any of the top five out of the title fight.
British racer Jon Lancaster (65) only joined in the fun in Spain but has taken a pair of sprint race wins while Marcus Ericsson (64) has bounced back from a horrible start in the #1 DAMS car to sit in seventh place in the championship. Ericsson has claimed two pole positions but took until the sprint race at Silverstone before he scored a point in a race. A feature race victory in Germany and another strong weekend in Hungary rocketed him up the table. Jolyon Palmer (64) has been the overtaking king in 2013 courtesy of a mixture of sub-par qualifying and frequent misfortune. Nonetheless, Palmer executed a perfect strategy in Hungary to clinch a feature race win. Stephane Richelmi (57) climbed onto the podium at Silverstone, while Mitch Evans (56) has had an impressive start to his GP2 career, having taken four podium finishes.
Eight different drivers have claimed a win across GP3’s 10 races this season, leaving the series with its most open title fight in history. Pre-season favourite Tio Ellinas proved his class after winning the curtain raiser but the Cypriot has yet to match that performance. Consistency has kept him atop the table with 91 points but after a pair of non-scores in Hungary he sits just a solitary point ahead of Facu Regalia. The ART driver bounced back from a miserable opening weekend and claimed a win in Germany.
Three drivers are tied on 75 points; Aaro Vainio, Jack Harvey and Kevin Korjus. Vainio’s two wins gives him the nod in third place but his inconsistency has so far limited his progress. Harvey oozed class as he claimed his maiden GP3 win on ‘Super Saturday’ at Silverstone while Korjus has yet to take a win but four rostrum finishes leaves him in the hunt. Conor Daly (71) won at GP3’s standalone round at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit near Valencia and would be in the hunt but for an iffy stewarding decision at Silverstone. Carlos Sainz Jr (60) has enjoyed a mixed rookie season; the son of the rally legend has taken a couple of podiums but has also had difficult races. Daniil Kvyat (57) and Nick Yelloly (52) have both had high moments while Romanian Robert Visoiu (40) has won two sprint races. With an identical scoring system to GP2, the championship for GP3 remains wide open.