Birthplace: Erba, Italy
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Winning the GP2 championship in 2012 helped Davide Valsecchi secure a place as Lotus’s third driver in 2013.
He began karting at the age of four, then stepped up to racing cars in 2003, aged 16. This began a decade-long rise through the junior classes which eventually culminated in the GP2 crown.
Alongside his first season in Formula Renault 3.5 in 2006 Valsecchi also entered a handful of European Le Mans Series races in an LMP2 Courage shared with Michael Vergers and Juan Barazi.
Having ended his first year of FR3.5 in tenth place for Epsilon Euskadi, better things were hoped for the following year. But despite narrowly beating team mate Filipe Albuquerque to his first win at the Nurburgring, Valsecchi slipped to 16th in the championship table.
For 2008 he switched to GP2 with Durango, a team which had struggled in the first two years of the championship but improved to eighth overall the year before. Valsecchi’s hopes of bettering that were wrecked when he injured his back in a huge crash at Istanbul. Valsecchi went into a tyre barrier at over 100mph after a suspected brake failure.
He returned mid-way through the season and a clutch of points finished left him 15th in the points table. He finished two places lower the following year after a full season with Durango.
But a switch to iSport at the end of the season revealed his potential. Valsecchi won the eight-race GP2 Asia championship in emphatic fashion.
He picked up his first points of 2009 five races in, finishing second to Pastor Maldonado at Istanbul. It took until the final race of the year for him to score his first win, leading Luiz Razia home at Abu Dhabi, ending the year eighth overall.
The pair became team mates at new GP2 team AirAsia the following year and Valsecchi’s end-of-season results had a familiar ring: one win, eighth in the drivers’ championship. He also followed up his 2010 test for HRT with a run in the Lotus F1 car of the AirAsia GP2 team’s sister outfit.
Valsecchi began his fifth year in GP2 with another change of teams, joining champions DAMS. He excelled in the early season back-to-back double-header in Bahrain, coming away with three wins and a third. Nine races in he’d amassed 141 points and enjoyed a 37-point lead over Razia.
But Valsecchi faltered in the following races and Razia seized the initiative, taking the points lead as well. Valsecchi clawed his way back into contention, winning in Monza while Razia suffered a poor weekend, and held the upper hand going into the Singapore finale. Fourth place in the feature race sealed the title with one race to spare.
Further F1 tests followed with Lotus – the name now belonging to the team formerly known as Renault – and in 2013 Valsecchi was promoted to the role of third driver.
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