Davide Valsecchi celebrated both his birthday and his first appearance as a Renault Driver Development member in style with a run to second place in the Bahrain GP2 Asia sprint race.
Having been unveiled as being part of the RDD programme during the launch of Renault's latest F1 car, Valsecchi set about attempting to repeat his podium winning form from the two previous GP2 rounds in Shanghai and Dubai.
Although a disappointing tenth place in qualifying meant he had to work hard for fifth place in the feature race, Valsecchi made amends in the sprint race to come home in second place, just behind Sergio Perez.
Moving him up to second in the GP2 Asia standings too, the Durango driver, who won the final round of the 2008 GP2 Series at Monza, was delighted to extend his run of impressive form.
“It was very good today,” he said. “I'm very happy for this result, but Sergio drove very well and he was too fast for me today. At the beginning of the race, he was definitely faster, but at the end, I was improving and I tried to catch him, but it was not possible. I could have taken a risk, but I thought it was better to secure second place instead of maybe losing everything.
“At the beginning of the weekend, I was not so competitive. Yesterday, I fought a lot to finish in the points, but I was very quick. Today, the car was perfect. I made a good start to take second place, but that was my limit for today.
“I think I am now second of the championship. It's a great step for me here. We'll see what happens next race, but it is very important to me to be competitive and be in a position to fight for the championship.”
Valsecchi is now ten points behind Kamui Kobayashi in the driver standings.