Summer day 5 – Heikki Kovalainen

Heikki Kovalainen – 23
Nobody doubts that Heikki Kovalainen has been driving brilliantly this year. But his driving has sadly not been translated into points as his car has been suffering from technical failures. The first came at the opening Grand Prix in Australia – a race of high attrition (or rather, lots of breaking cars with both Mercedes and Williams failing) which would have put Heikki in 13th if he’d finished thanks to the Sauber disqualification.
Heikki finished the race in China, just behind both Toro Rossos, and the next two races after that. Then in Barcelona things went wrong again. The Finn began on a high, getting his Lotus into Q2 after Kobayashi and Barrichello had problems and starting 15th. But as he was pushing his way around the track and doing pretty well, he lost the car and crashed into the wall.
The next race was Monaco, and Lotus took the opportunity for a good finish with Trulli and Kovalainen in 13th and 14th respectively. But it was disappointing for Heikki that he didn’t manage to get that 13th place. Then Canada, and it was looking good right up until the restart. As the cars were proceeding around under the safety car, a drive failure for Heikki meant another DNF. And a struggling Jarno Trulli came in behind the HRTs and Virgins.
Valencia meant starting where you finish for almost everyone. And then it was Silverstone. A good push by Lotus in the first half of Q1 saw Heikki in 17th ahead of both Toro Rossos before the rain came down. So it was Q2 for Heikki, who qualified 17th. But for Team Lotus it was another bad day with Kovalainen and Trulli both retiring through faults with the McLaren technical unit and Renault engine. They had barely made it 11 laps into the race.
Kovalainen finished 16th in Germany, then the Hungaroring saw another double DNF with the cars suffering from water leaks. Sadly, Heikki has been hit with the worst of the failures, and the Lotus has been much less reliable than any other team’s car.

Worst qualifying: 20
Best qualifying: 15
Worst finish: 19 (Turkey, Valencia)
Best finish: 14 (Monaco)
Average difference: -0.82
Laps completed: 507/681 (74%)
Average race position: 17.29 (Best: 16.2 Malaysia; Worst: 19.2 Canada)

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