The newest GP2 champion reflects on his season
GP2 Series: Davide Valsecchi, 2012 GP2 champion: what does that mean to you?
Davide Valsecchi: It’s unbelievable! It’s a really good feeling, and I’m really, really happy, because this year we had a great season: I drove really well and our car was really competitive almost every time, so I’m really happy that at the end, when it was really important, we had the victory last time in Monza and we were one of the best this weekend too. When it was important, me and DAMS didn’t make any mistakes, and we showed this year with four victories, with ten podiums and with six fastest laps that we were the best! I hope tomorrow to have a really good job, and to pay back DAMS for the car they gave to me all season long, and to beat Lotus for the teams’ championship.
GP2 Series: GP2 is always a championship that rewards experience, which you have, but what has made this year different than previous years?
Davide: We need to say that, in GP2, there are the best drivers in the world outside of Formula One, and the level is so high that if everything is not perfect, you cannot win: there are teams like Lotus, DAMS, iSport, Racing Engineering, Addax, Arden, everyone have won in the past. And there are such good drivers that it is really hard to be the champion here. So it is great news for me, great news for DAMS, and this year we were able to show that we are the best: we were the best at the beginning of the season, we were not so lucky in the middle of the season and I saw the stewards a bit too much [laughs], but when it was important in the end we came back, driving really well, having a good car, and showing that we can come back strong enough to take back the championship.
GP2 Series: You came out with a bang at the start of the season, and Luiz was consistent and just kept scoring points: how did you get your head back around and fight for the title?
Davide: No one can become a hero if he doesn’t have a great contender, so I’m really happy to be the champion, and I’m really happy to have a great contender in Razia, because to be honest he made our job really difficult! [laughs] At one stage we wondered if we would be able to fight back at the top again, but in Budapest we took back the situation and were one of the quickest and I had a great weekend, although unfortunately so did Razia! But I just thought keep working like this and we’ll make the gap, and in Monza we did it, and I’m happy to put the last stone in it here in Singapore, at last!
GP2 Series: You’ve become famous for being able to look after your tyres so you can still use them at the end: how much of an impact did Pirelli make on this championship?
Davide: It was already good fun and a great feeling driving Pirelli this season, and in GP2 it is always a great show: all my friends from my small village watch all the races, and they enjoy them even when I cannot win or be on the podium! So it means that the races are spectacular, and this is because of the tyres. In the beginning, yes, we had this advantage, but in the end it was no more because everyone understood this trick! [laughs] But you have to conserve the tyres if you want to be first, and it’s the same in Formula One, but also you have to be able to use them the best for one lap in qualifying, because if not you will not be at the front and able to compete.
GP2 Series: So you’ve wrapped up the championship: what happens next?
Davide: I don’t know, but in Italy they always say there is no Italian driver in Formula One, but before now who deserved it? Last year we finished second with Filippi, which was fantastic but we were unlucky because it was second. The year before no Italian, and before there was Pantano, who was a great champion, but there was the story that he was in Formula One before, and the story that maybe he was too old, but this year there is another Italian champion. I really hope to have the chance, because at the moment we are strong enough to use it, so I really hope I will have a chance, and that I can show that I deserve to be there, that I’m ready and I’m strong enough to be there. But to be honest, I love to fight with everyone here, with Razia, Chilton, Calado, Gutiérrez, van der Garde, and I wish that you would go to the rest of the races with Formula One too! I would sign right now: next week, if you were going to Japan, I would come with you! [laughs]