Davide Valsecchi Q&A (Exclusive)
Nextgen-Auto’s exclusive interview with GP2 Championship leader Davide Valsecchi
As the GP2 Series prepares for the final race weekend of the season, only two drivers can clinch the Drivers’ Championship once the action begins around the daunting Marina Bay street circuit in Singapore. This will be the first time the GP2 Series visits the circuit, and will see Davide Valsecchi race head-to-head with Luiz Razia.
Davide Valsecchi has remained a Championship contender since the opening race of the season, and utterly dominated the two race weekends in Bahrain at the beginning of the season by winning three consecutive races. The Italian driver is entering the season finale at Singapore 25 points clear of Luiz Razia, after an exceedingly important victory around his home circuit at Monza last time out.
With Davide Valsecchi the Championship favorite heading into the Singapore Grand Prix weekend, I caught up with the Italian driver to discuss his season so far, and to take a look ahead at the final race weekend of this entertaining GP2 season.
Q: First of all Davide, many thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer my questions. You started this season with unparalleled dominance, especially in Bahrain. What was the secret to your success at this early stage?
Davide Valsecchi: I think that we were extremely competitive, because our car was really competitive. So I think we that we approached the season in a really good way, and I think this is what we needed to do to show that we were one of the contenders for the Championship. We are all very happy about it.
Q: Since then however, a certain Luiz Razia has challenged your authority over the Series. You only have a 25 lead over the Brazilian heading into the final round of the season, are you confident you can clinch the Championship?
DV: Yes, I am really confident because we ended the last weekend [in Italy] with a victory, whereas Luiz Razia ended the race in 16th place. So for sure we are more confident than them [Arden International] and we are more confident because we are leading the team Championship and all the team is with me at the moment. We’ve done our best to deserve where we are at the moment in the Championship, and at the moment we are approaching the last weekend of the season in a good way. The team is working a lot to be perfect for the weekend, and we are doing a lot of simulator work in preparation to be one of the best when the weekend begins.
Q: At the opening race weekend in Malaysia, you were involved in a big incident with the iSport International of Marcus Ericsson in which you barrel-rolled through the gravel. What were your initial thoughts once the car had come to a standstill, was it relief that you were uninjured or was it disappointment at scoring no valuable points.
DV: We had the flip in the air during the second race in Malaysia, but we had the pole and the 2nd place in the feature race so it was a very good weekend for us. After the race, Marcus Ericsson did get a penalty for the incident so it wasn’t our fault, and our aim was to get many points during the race. Luckily my car wasn’t heavily damaged, and the team showed in Bahrain that they brought the car back with good performance. We just lost some points, it wasn’t our fault and we were a bit disappointed for that but we scored really well in the next weekend.
Q: The season finale this year is scheduled to take place at the Marina Bay Street Circuit in Singapore. How much are you looking forward to racing there?
DV: It’s really good that we are going to Singapore, it will be my first time and GP2’s first time at the circuit. I think it will be a great show. It will be the first time we have gone so far for a race, so we will try to do our best. What we know is that it is a street circuit and a very long circuit, so it looks really complicated to be fast in performance there. In Monte-Carlo we were competitive, I hope to be able to fight in the top five along with Calado, Gutierrez, van der Garde, Razia all the top drivers and we will try to do our best, myself and Felipe Nasr. I hope to maintain my lead in the Championship.
Q: You won the Italian Grand Prix sprint race last time out, whereas Championship rival Luiz Razia failed to score any points. What was it like to take such an important victory on home soil?
DV: It was really wonderful, it was important for us and it was a really important weekend because beforehand we were equal on points, myself and Luiz Razia. Me and DAMS had a great chance to beat them, and the result after this really important weekend was that we gained on them 25 points. We finished the weekend with a really great victory, as well as fastest lap two laps to the end. So it shows that at the moment we really deserve the lead in the Championship. But, it’s not finished yet and it was really important for us to gain further confidence and to show that we are the team and driver to beat, but we still have one fight to do. We will try to do our best, because it would be a shame if we lost the Championship after starting the final race weekend 25 points in the lead. And all the others are out of contention, the Lotus team [Calado and Gutierrez] are already out of the Championship fight. We only have to beat one man [Luiz Razia], and we have an advantage to him. But first of all we want to score points and have a good result there because every time you race you want to finish in the top five and on the podium. Our aim will be this result.
Many thanks to DAMS and Davide Valsecchi for the communication and time taken to complete this interview.
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