1 – Tio Ellinas
If the 2012 season proved anything, it’s the imporatnce of joining a good team. If you weren’t racing for Lotus or Arden, you were pretty much nowhere. Hence, Ellinas gets on my list because of his consistently-good performances. He drove well throughout the season, and was duly rewarded with a podium and a win in Monza. I think he has a bright future ahead of him, and I would love to see him in Formula 1 someday.
2 – Robert Visoiu
Perhaps not the most prominent driver on the GP3 grid, but impressive in his own way. Visoiu made up positions in almost every race he finished (and even some that he didn’t). At sixteen, he is the youngest driver on the grid, which makes his feat all the more impressive. He’s got a long way to go, but he’s certainly off to a good start.
3 – Antonio Felix da Costa
I’m actually putting him on this list because of his performances in Formula Renault. Where he was trundling around in a GP3 for most of the year, he was able to jump straight into an FR3.5 car and be competitive from the first race. He was let down by a few patchy race results and the odd retirement, but I think he deserves to be fast-tracked for Formula 1.
4 – Kevin Ceccon
Let’s face it: Ocean have never been the most competitive team about. And when they take drivers like Jorda and Cregan, you have to wonder why they even bother (which is supported by their GP2 driver Nigel Melker, who has said that the mechanics don’t bother sometimes). But Ceccon proved to be quick, if somewhat inconsistent, and his results elsewhere back him up.
5 – Daniel Abt
Even though he was the rank outsider, Abt got himself into the title fight through sheer consistency, which is never a bad thing. It’s always nice to see a driver who hasn’t really featured prominently throughout the season come alive in the final moments. His title loss was a little cruel, but early in the season, I was afraid he was going to go the same way as Pedro Nunes last year – a driver that a team like ART Grand Prix had seriously misjudged.