Top 10 GP2 Driver of the Year 2012:7. Giedo van der Garde

Birthplace: Rhenen, NetherlandsBirthdate: April 25, 1985Team: Caterham Racing2012 starts: 24Poles: 2Wins: 2Podiums: 6Fastest laps: 1Championship points: 160Championship position: 6thCrash.net GP2 Driver of 2011 position: 8th

Clearly, Giedo van der Garde has a healthy contingent of fans out there who have bumped him up to seventh place in this year's Driver of the Year vote, one place better than he managed in 2011 (even though in terms of final championship positions, he's actually lost a spot compared with last season!)

We couldn't shake the feeling that van der Garde was rather doing the early part of the GP2 season out of sufferance in exchange for some Free Practice 1 outings with the team's F1 operation. But even if that's true, there's no question that he finally got his head in the game with a third place in Bahrain and a win in the Catalunya feature to kick-start his season after a sluggish opening. A double podium weekend at Monaco was a highlight and he finished the season on top with victory in the final race of the year in Singapore, but there was still too much treading water by the Dutch driver in between these highs.

What will van dr Garde do now? If he doesn't get one of the remaining race seats in F1, it's hard to see what he could possibly gain by coming back to GP2 for a fifth season. Has he reached the point of diminishing returns?

Top 10 GP2 Driver of the Year 2012 results so far:

7. Giedo van der Garde8. Tom Dillmann9. Max Chilton10. Marcus Ericsson

 

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