The Asia Series champion suspected that he'd have a tougher time of it in the main series, and so it proved. Valsecchi is a driver who thrives on confidence, and while his morale could fluctuate alarmingly, iSport proved adept at making him feel as comfortable as possible. As expected, the Italian produced a few outstanding drives, but it was equally no surprise to see the odd good result go begging due to unnecessary mistakes.
Defining moment: Leaving the track before the press conference after qualifying second in Hungary. There's a reason that his paddock nickname was 'the Ghost'.
The Belgian's low-key start to the season - sprint race win in Monaco notwithstanding - eventually led to him being replaced by Romain Grosjean for the Germany weekend so that DAMS could try to figure out whether the problems lay with the car or the driver. He returned knowing that another couple of bad results would sideline him permanently, and responded to the pressure with a string of excellent performances in the final few races.
Defining moment: Being replaced by Grosjean for the Hockenheim round provided the shot in the arm that he and DAMS both needed.
Started the season perfectly by winning the Barcelona curtain-raiser, but things were a bit of a rollercoaster from there on. The rookie more than had the measure of team-mate Rodolfo Gonzalez and seemed to be a pretty reliable barometer of how competitive the Arden car was on any given weekend - if the car was quick, so was he. Unfortunately he frequently qualified just far enough back to be a sitting duck for any opening-lap chaos, which cost him a few points.
Defining moment: Victory in the first feature race, 11th at the following one - Pic's year in a nutshell.
Like most of the rookies Vietoris took a while to get up to speed, but the fact that his first two points finishes came in feature races rather than reversed-grid sprints showed his potential. The German appeared to gel well with the Racing Engineering team, and his final finishing position of ninth in the points is outstanding considering that a combination of illness and mechanical problems forced him to miss three races. His strong late-season pace delivered a Sunday win at Monza.
Defining moment: His great Monza weekend, where he followed a fourth in the feature race up by winning the sprint.
Turvey signaled his intentions with some stunning performances in the Asia Series, and his no-frills approach to racing seemed a good fit with the equally straightforward iSport squad. The team struggled to get the car working in qualifying, which often put the rookie on the back foot, but he looked considerably stronger in race mode and improved with each passing weekend. By the end of the season he was routinely mixing it with the leaders, and four podiums and a pole was a solid return on his efforts.
Defining moment: Monza, where the Briton's efforts to crack a feature race podium finally paid off.
Lessons learned from his rookie year and a renewed sense of focus resulted in great strides forward from the Spaniard, who can stake a strong claim for most improved driver of the season. Clos's main calling card of 2010 was consistency, and his worst weekends - Hungary, Spa and Monza - were largely derailed by things outside his control, such as the back injury that sidelined him from the Belgium sprint race. If only he could have converted a couple of his podiums into wins, he might have been a key player in the title fight.
Defining moment: His consistency. Between Barcelona and Hockenheim, Clos scored points in 11 out of 12 races.
The combination of Perez's undoubted talent and a top-line team like Addax made the Mexican a pre-season favourite, and while there were undoubtedly some shining moments, there is equally little doubt that they did not come often enough. Perez should have been Maldonado's biggest threat, but a combination of driver and team errors and the odd mechanical failure rarely allowed him to get close enough to concern the Venezuelan.
Defining moment: Abu Dhabi, where Perez dominated the feature race and crashed pointlessly in the sprint.
The Frenchman's formidable reputation might have caused a few people to overlook the fact that this was just his fourth year in single-seaters, and he admitted that the expectation weighed heavily early on. Bianchi made a few rookie errors but never repeated them, and despite not winning a race he was a consistent threat among the top order. If you're looking to have an early punt on next year's champion, you could do worse than parking your fiver next to his name.
Defining moment: Qualifying. Bianchi started from pole three times, including the season-opener in Spain.
Maldonado took a couple of races to warm up and switched off as soon as it stopped mattering, but in the middle of the season the Venezuelan was absolutely dominant. Expectations were high, but you can't argue with how he responded. Six wins in a season is a new GP2 record, and while it's true that his rivals sometimes made life easier for him than they needed to, it's equally true that he never wasted a chance to make them pay for their mistakes when it counted.
Defining moment: The six consecutive feature race wins between Turkey and Belgium.
Bird takes little prompting to reel off the misfortunes that cost him points this year, but in most cases it's hard to disagree with him. He wasn't immune from mistakes, but the points that he lost to reliability problems, occasional team errors or sheer bad luck far outweighed those that he denied himself. Part of ART's all-rookie line-up alongside Bianchi, Bird showed great pace all season, proving himself equally adept at leading from the front or, as the situation too often required, coming through the pack.
Defining moment: Overtaking. You almost found yourself hoping he'd qualify a few rows off the front just to see how he'd respond in the race.
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