If there's anyone in the GP2
paddock that knows the value of winning the title and just how much work goes into a championship-winning season, it has to be Davide Valsecchi.
He's been competing in the series since 2008, originally with Durango and then a brief stint with Barwa Addax and a season apiece with iSport and Team AirAsia (now Caterham) in 2010 and 2011. But for Valsecchi, the necessary components of a successful title campaign had never come together - his best finish in the championship before now was eighth place.
Then at the start of 2012 he landed the seat at DAMS which last year powered Romain Grosjean to the 2011 title and set the Frenchman on his way to a full time F1 drive this year with Lotus. If the stars were ever going to align for Valsecchi, it surely had to be this year?
Even so, actually pulling it off and finally clinching a dream five years in the making was almost too much to take on board when it happened at Singapore this weekend.
"It's just unbelievable! I'm so, so happy," said Valsecchi after finally putting the title beyond doubt. "I'm happy to put the last stone in it here in Singapore at last!
"With four victories, ten podiums and six fastest laps we've shown that we're the best," insisted Valsecchi of their championship-winning season. "We've had a great season and the car was competitive almost everywhere. In the key moments neither DAMS nor I made any mistakes."
It's an especially sweet moment of vindication for his team: "Keeping a title is a rare exploit in GP2
and we've had some very tough rivals," pointed out DAMS team principal Jean-Paul Driot. "This crown rewards all the work we've put in and confirms, after Romain Grosjean's victory last year, that DAMS is a great team.
"It's fantastic," Driot added. "They've put on a brilliant consistent performance since the start of the season and they've remained calm and tightly-knit when the going got rough."
That ability to hold their nerve when the going got tough proved vital, since after an explosive early part to the season that included three back-to-back wins in consecutive weekends at Bahrain, Valsecchi was not to win again until Monza: in the meantime, the seemingly remorseless consistency of Arden's Luiz Razia's season meant Valsecchi's lead in the championship ebbed away.