5 laps in the lead! Renault rookie racer Heikki Kovalainen completed his first laps in the lead of a Formula One race just seven events into his rookie season in the sport when he led the charge around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday afternoon. Although he didn’t win, the young Finn ended the day with a strong result and has since spoken about the race with the team’s official website….
What a race! How are you feeling? I’m feeling good, I think it was the best possible result given that McLaren and Ferrari had a trouble-free afternoon. I think the car was quick enough to beat Heidfeld on pace. It was nice to stay in front of Kimi in the first stint too, and I had some good fights with Nick… Luckily, he had a problem and that made life easier. The team did a fantastic job to get this result today.
Going back to your fight with Kimi Raikkonen. When you saw him so close behind you in your mirrors, what did you think? I felt completely in control. I could see he was running on the harder tires, and knew he would only be a threat at the end of the stint because of that. But I didn’t give him any opportunities to pass me. He wasn’t as fast in turn 11 and through the banking. I didn’t make any mistakes, and had a good pace; I might have held him up in absolute terms, but that’s racing.
You covered your first 5 laps in the lead… how was it? I wasn’t much different… I was concentrating on pushing, trying to find a tenth here, a tenth there. It would have been nicer to cross the line in the lead at the end of the race! I always attack, it doesn’t matter what position I am in. I always give the maximum. If the car is working well and it feels good, I push even more; but if I can feel the front or rear going away, I slow a bit. It was fun to see P1 on the pit board, but it didn’t change much about my race.
You had a very good weekend. How do you see the next race in Magny-Cours? I am very happy to have had two good races. I had a solid weekend, and we have a test at Silverstone this week where we are hoping to improve the car a bit more. We will go to the French Grand Prix feeling confident, we are closing in on Ferrari and I don’t think we are far from BMW. It will vary from track to track but if we continue like this, I think we will have chances to fight with them.
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