McLaren racer Heikki Kovalainen didn’t have the best of Monaco Grand prix’s the Finnish driver qualifying fourth on the grid, but due to a technical glitch was forced to start from pitlane instead. However, despite all the chaos the rain produced together with a great strategy from the team and some expert driving, he managed to cross the finish line in eighth place overall.
Now it’s time for Canada and Heikki is hoping for a much more favorable result….
What are your expectations ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix? "I am going to Montreal to get a good result with the team. The last few races have been pretty difficult for one reason or another, but all the time we know the car is quick and now I am hoping to be able to demonstrate that."
How competitive do you feel the MP4-23 will be at the Canadian Grand Prix? "Lewis won there last year and, if that is anything to go by, I hope and think the car will be fast again this year. It’s another track that is not that normal, it is almost like a street circuit and a key characteristic that we have to manage over the race is the big change in grip levels throughout the weekend. You have to chase the track a little bit some times with the set up, and also wait for the track to come to you. It’s such a different character after Monaco, which is a lot of slow, tight corners. Montreal is all about straight lines and heavy braking. I always look forward to going there, it is another big challenge and the racing is normally pretty good."
What is key to a strong performance at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve? "Braking is number one for this track, it is very heavy on the brakes and we have to pay special attention to make sure they last the race. It is also definitely key to a good lap at this track to be able to ride the curbs well; basically you are trying to straight line them so you can go faster through the corner. The most important thing is being able to take those bumps and the hits well and for it not to disrupt the car too much. So in general the car needs to be quite soft."
As you demonstrated last year, overtaking is possible at this track, where are the prime passing opportunities? "I had a disastrous weekend up to Sunday last year and then during the race the incidents and safety cars meant the strategy played into my favor. I overtook a few cars, and then eventually I just found myself in fourth. I was close to Alex Wurz and raced against him to take third. It didn’t come off, but it does show that anything can happen in a race and you must never give up, wherever you are you just have to carry on and keep pushing. The best places to pass are at the end of each of the straights. This means there are three key opportunities with one very long straight and two that are a bit shorter. You can slipstream and then pass under braking or follow the car ahead through the slower corners and make another move."
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