2 November 2013
Leimer and Kvyat celebrate championship successes
The new GP2 and GP3 champions for 2013 were both crowned in Abu Dhabi on Saturday, with Fabio Leimer and Daniil Kvyat celebrating their mutual success at Yas Marina.
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.
"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 Hülkenberg, 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!"
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