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GP Week : Issue 172
GPWEEK: Davide, you have been racing in GP2 since 2008 and you already won the Asia Series title, but the main one eluded you until now. What made the difference this year? DAVIDE VALSECCHI: Maybe a competitive car like this year’s, always set up to be at the front. And my state of mind: This time I felt ready to win. Even in the mid-season, when Razia overtook me, I remained convinced I could do it. I made less mistakes, I was competitive in every condition, I managed my tyres well in qualifying and the results proved me right. I felt I was the strongest. How important was your relationship with DAMS? Here I found the right environment: An experienced team, a winning engineer who became my friend as well and a car which never stepped down from the top seven in qualifying. In the best moments, they knew that if they gave me a winning car I would take it to the win. In the worst, my team trusted me blindly and knew I would not fail. Even after my only mistake, in race one at Hockenheim, as I stepped out of the car they told me: “You won so far, why should we worry after a bad race? We will catch up tomorrow.” No one could believe it ... Italians and Frenchmen usually don’t get along very well together... Do you feel you’re now ready for Formula One? Every GP2-winning driver before me has raced in F1. I think I proved I deser ved, with my results, the end-of-season test in Abu Dhabi with a mid-level car. There, it will be up to me to exploit the chance – then we will think about the budget as well. Honestly, looking at young drivers, the ones to bet upon are Valsecchi, who won GP2, and Bianchi or Frijns, who are battling for the title in World Series. I’m still young, I’m strong, I completed my education, I know F1 circuits and Pirelli tyres, I was the best GP2 driver in saving tyres – which is a key aspect in F1... Last year in my same situation was Grosjean, who is now often ahead of Raikkonen in qualifying. And about your GP2 rivals, who looks more promising to you? Razia, who proved to be the best at managing races, and Calado, who I particularly like for the way he battles. He deserves respect, because when he races against you he always gives 110 percent and, if you attack him on the outside, he doesn’t think twice of pushing you on the grass. Races are races: This year I never quarreled with anybody because I always kept in mind that when the lights are off, anything goes. The ones who complain are the ones who lose. Valentino Rossi won his world championships pushing his rivals off track while they were complaining. You have to follow the rules, but you must also push them to the limit. Your possible debut in F1 would be even more important, since this year there were no Italians on the grid. In Monza I was told it was 39 years since the last Grand Prix with no Italians racing. I hope this, together with the fact I am the best Italian driver at the moment, will convince somebody to give me a chance. We always had great drivers in Italy, but looking at merit, before me the only winning one was Pantano – and he had already been in F1. Filippi is very strong, but he was second. Are you still celebrating for the title or are you already focused on this new goal? In case of victory, I had promised my girlfriend three days of holiday. I knew I was unbeatable in Singapore, because in Asia I have never been out of the points. When I fly 2,000 miles, leaving from Eupilio, to go racing, I feel like a hero: All my friends would like to be in my shoes. So, after qualifying sixth, I was sure I was going to win the title, even if to do it I had to settle for the points. After that, I booked the flight for my girlfriend: She arrived shortly before the Saturday race, she saw me win and I kept my promise of the three-days holiday on a beach. The first day I was the happiest man in the world, I felt satisfied about the victory. The following day, I woke up pissed off: I was thinking I was wasting my time and I needed to get back home to work my way into F1! 5 MINUTES WITH DAVIDE VALSECCHI The 2012 GP2 Series champion talks to FABRIZIO CORGNATI about his season this year and his Formula One ambitions 5 MINUTES 20 GPWEEK.com // 20 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: