Silverstone feature race winner Alberto Valerio has admitted that rediscovering the top step of the podium was 'a dream come true' after overcoming the likes of Romain Grosjean and Lucas di Grassi to open his account in the GP2 Series.
The Brazilian, who has rattled around the lower reaches of the grid for much of his career in the F1 feeder series, ended a 23-race drought when he scored points in both races at Istanbul Park, but surprised more when he battled Grosjean for pole in qualifying at Silverstone. Admittedly a circuit he knows from both the British F3 Championship and since graduating to GP2, Valerio eventually had to give best to his French rival, but more than made up for the disappointment of missing out on Friday's bonus point with his Saturday performance.
"For me, it's a dream that's come true!" he laughed, "I haven't won since 2005, and now I could find a way again. That is [the result of] a lot of work, a lot of education, a lot of everything put inside, and we will just see if we can keep improving and keep fighting for these positions for the rest of the season."
Valerio's weekend put more highly regarded Piquet GP team-mate Roldan Rodriguez squarely in shade at Silverstone and, even though the Brazilian narrowly missed out on points in Sunday's sprint round, he was delighted to reflect on a race that saw him overcome Grosjean early on, then fend off the attentions of di Grassi and Nico Hulkenberg.
"We had a very difficult start, so Grosjean opened a little bit [of a gap] and I had to close a little bit the door to Lucas in Stowe," he recounted, "Then, after that, I had to catch Grosjean, which hurt a little bit the tyres. I was just waiting for mistake by him, but the mistake didn't come and Lucas was approaching us, so I had to push a little bit.
"Eventually I had the opportunity to do the manoeuvre [on Grosjean]. I thought he would fight a little bit more, but I got a good position on the track and overtook him. After this, it is worse when you are alone on the track because you have to focus on the pace - it's really hard! I tried to do this, and I could keep the gap of three seconds, which was very important, and we could do the job."
While many of his rivals over-used their tyres trying to catch him, Valerio admitted that he was focused on doing just enough to keep out of reach.
"Principally, I was looking at the guy behind and the pace they were doing, the laps they were doing, because I could not be too much quicker than them and then, in the end of the race, not have tyres to fight for the place," he reasoned, "So I was watching the gap, trying to keep it back to second place, and I think we did a great job - [team principal] Felipe Vargas managed this situation very well."
Valerio's victory lifts him into seventh position in the championship standings, with 16 points.