Fabio Leimer was thrilled with finally achieving his ambition of securing the GP2 Series championship with Racing Engineering, admitting that he still couldn't believe it had finally happened.

"I think we can be really happy with today," said Leimer in a masterly touch of understatement.

"We were lucky Sam Bird stalled on the grid, which helped us a lot," he agreed - although this alone wouldn't have been enough to ensure the title battle was over. "We knew we had to finish at the front to take the title. The start was good and I was almost P1 [but] I knew I needed to finish P4.

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"It took off the pressure as I wanted to finish the race, which was quite long today," he said. "I was already sure that I could finish on the podium as I manage tyres very well, but the second safety car allowed [DAMS' Marcus] Ericsson to close in on me on soft tyres.

"I would also like to thank the team for the great job this season," he added. "We never had any technical issue and the engineers always worked hard on putting the best car on track. Me and the team did a good job this year and deserve to win the championship."

Talking later to the GP2 Media Service, Leimer said: "I still can't believe it. It's just amazing, because GP2 is the strongest category apart from F1, and there are not many people who can say they've won this championship!"

In fact just eight other drivers in the world can lay claim to that accolade: Davide Valsecchi, Roman Grosjean, Pastor Maldonado, Nico H?lkenberg, Giorgio Pantano, Tim Glock, Lewis Hamilton and the original 2005 champion Nico Rosberg.

Many of those names went on to become fixtures in the F1 paddock in the back of their success in the feeder series, and it's not surprising that the 24-year-old Swiss driver also has similar ambitions.

"We will see, but I hope I can go to F1," he admitted. "It will be hard, for sure, because there are not many seats free, but I hope I can go to F1, and for me it is important to win this championship to help me. Now we have to work and push to go up there."

But that's for another day: this weekend is for celebrating. "I'm really, really happy," smiled Leimer. "And I'm focussed on tomorrow because there is still another race and I want to finish on the podium!"

Over in the GP3 paddock, the newly-crowned 2013 champion doesn't have to worry about getting a seat in F1 in the future - because he's already assured of one in 2014. The 19-year-old Daniil Kvyat will step into the cockpit of the Scuderia Toro Rosso car next season in place of Daniel Ricciardo, who is moving to the senior Red Bull team when Mark Webber retires at the end of the current season.

A lot of eyebrows were raised when Kvyat's appointment was announced last month, but the young Russian insisted that he'd received a good education in preparation for Grand Prix racing thanks to his participation in GP3 this year.

"You know, GP3 is a really good place to be for young drivers," he told the GP3 Media Service after winning Saturday's race to clinch the title from rival Facu Regalia. "We race at the same tracks as F1, in the same conditions all the time and also, the tyres are really similar.

"I think it's a better preparation than what people think," he stressed. "I'm really looking forward to the next step, but right now, I also want to enjoy this and celebrate. We worked hard for it. We deserve to enjoy it!"

Kvyat may now get an even earlier outing at an F1 race weekend than expected, with Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost making plans to get his new signing into action in Friday practice sessions in the final two Grand Prix weekends of 2013.

"We will have a test with him next week to get the Super Licence," confirmed Tost. "Afterwards, he will go out on Friday in America and in Sao Paulo and of course we will have winter time, where he has to do a lot of work with physical training, mental training, then working on the simulator to prepare him as good as possible for the next season."

Certainly there's no quibbling that Kvyat has more than earned his GP3 title this season, underlining it in style with an utterly dominant display so far in Abu Dhabi which meant no one could touch him in practice, qualifying or the race itself.

"I'm really, really happy and I'm proud of myself, the team [MW Arden] and everyone involved this year," he beamed. "It's a strong result and to be going to F1 like this, it could not be better than that!"