Tag Archives: Heikki Kovalainen

Time to say Goodbye: Heikki Kovalainen

2 Feb

How’s his F1 career been?

After starting his F1 career with Renault in 2007 Heikki impressed in his debut season, finishing on the podium in Japan and regularly scoring points, he impressed so much that he moved to McLaren for 2008 directly swapping with Fernando Alonso. 2008 saw him progress further, claiming his only race in in Hungary and finishing on the podium in Malaysia and Italy and putting in consistent performances to pick up enough points to finish 7th in the championship. Heikki continued with McLaren in 2009 but the performances were not nearly as good not only did he not get any podiums but his consistency dropped, and at the end of 2009 Heikki was dropped from McLaren in favour of Jenson Button. Due to this Heikki was signed by Lotus (now Caterham) to drive for them in 2010 and although he was never in contention of picking up points over his three year spell with the team he put in some phenomenal performances, occasionally taking the Caterham in Q2 and far and showing why the Lotus/Caterham was the best of the ‘new’ team’s cars.

What had Heikki won before F1?

Heikki started his single seater career in 2001 in Formula Renault finishing 4th in his debut year before claiming 3rd spot the year later. In 2003 Heikki competed in the World Series by Nissan finishing 2nd before winning the series the year later, but it was in 2005 in the new GP2 formula that he made his mark, finishing 2nd, this saw him made Renault test driver in 2006 before joining the race team in 2007.

Will he be back?

He’s 31 so older than most drivers who’ve managed to return, but he is also clearly very talented. What will let Heikki down though is his lack of sponsorship backing. If Heikki did want to return I’d suggest that he attempts to compete in GP2 next season otherwise he may turn to rallying.

How do you rate his F1 career?

8/10 Won a race, finished on the podium 4 times and was consistent.


It’s disaster for Alonso whilst Hulkenburg proves metal

2 Sep

Driver Ratings, Belgium, Pt.1, Caterham, Ferrari and Force India.

Heikki Kovalainen: 6/10 Q19 S18 F17

Heikki had a customary great start rising to 10th before the safety car, but as soon as the safety car returned to the pits Kovalainen found himself swamped by faster cars. Heikki would have been the fastest of the ‘new’ teams until a spin during a chicane saw him drop to the back, a place he would struggle to get out from until he pipped De La Rosa at the end.

Vitaly Petrov: 7/10 Q20 S19 F14

Vitaly profited from the turn 1 collision to rise to 14th and after inheriting 17th from Kovalainen it was a dominant performance by Vitaly to win the ‘new’ team race.

Fernando Alonso: 5/10 Q6 S6 F ret.

Would surely have finished high up in the points had he not been forced to retire, but it hadn’t been a dominant weekend for Alonso, despite going fastest in FP3. Alonso will need a better weekend at Monza if he is to keep him being the favourite.

Felipe Massa: 7/10 Q14 S14 F5

It hasn’t been the year Felipe would have dreamed of but Massa won’t be upset with his race today. It wasn’t a good qualifying performance but Massa drove a blinder of a race, the strategy was good and Massa drove well to pick up a vital 10 points.

Nico Hulkenburg: 9/10 Q12 S11 F4 #DriverOfTheDay

Nico drove phenomenally to show people why he should be regarded as the best driver at Force India, despite now shining in qualifying Nico negotiated the collision superbly to find himself in 3rd before overtaking Raikkonen to go into 2nd, only to find himself behind Kimi again after pitting. Maybe could have made the podium with some more luck.

Paul Di Resta: 6/10 Q10 S9 F10

Performed impeccably in qualifying to make it to Q3, but couldn’t find that speed in the race and should have finished 6th if he’d performed to qualifying expectations.

Alonso loses lead in final laps whilst the old Massa returns

8 Jul

Driver Ratings, GB 12, Pt.1, Caterham Ferrari and Force India

Heikki Kovalainen: 5/10 Q20 S19 F17

In the past Week Heikki has had lots of people talking about him driving for a quicker team next year but his race today will have silenced all that talk. It was average at best and it was hardly surprising the only drivers Kovalainen finished ahead of were the Marussias and HRTs, not a good race for the Finn.

Vitaly Petrov: 6/10 Q19 DNS

It had been a promising race for Vitaly, he qualified ahead of Kovalainen which hasn’t happened often this year. Sadly Vitaly never made it to the grid an engine problem on his way round.

Fernando Alonso: 9/10 Q1 S1 F2

It was an inspirational call for Alonso to start on the hard tyres, which were faster than the softs this weekend which saw him fly off at the start, and he would have finished that way had he done two extra laps a stint on the harder tyres. As it was he was found waning on the softer tyres and Webber overtook late on to record his 2nd British GP victory.

Felipe Massa: 9/10 Q5 S5 F4

It was a sublime weekend for a driver who’s regularly struggled in recent years, qualifying 5th (his highest this year) will have been a big boost, he was brave on the first lap going round the outside of Vettel but he suffered behind Schumacher and he’ll feel that if he could have cleared Schumacher earlier he could have been on the podium, as it was Massa pulled a great move on Schumacher. Sadly Massa’s first stop was a bit too late letting Vettel through and it was a good race for 4th place Massa.

Paul Di Resta: 6/10 Q11 S10 F ret.

Sadly for Paul it’s now two home GPs two retirements, this time after a small racing incident with Romain Grosjean which saw Paul pick up a puncture which forced him to retire on lap 2, Paul will just be hoping that he’ll perform better in Hungary.

Nico Hulkenburg: 7/10 Q9 S14 F12

Was unlucky to receive a 5 place grid penalty for a gearbox change but ‘the Hulk’ impressed during the race running in the points for most of the race. Sadly his tyres petered off at the end and a bag first corner to the final lap saw him slip from 9th to 12th.

Photo of the day: Friday, Great Britain 12

6 Jul

This is a new feature whereby a photo is chosen that I feel sums up the day. Today’s photo is one of Heikki Kovalainen.

Photo courtesy of formulaone.com

This photo was chosen because it shows just how bad the weather was at Silverstone.

Fernando turns P11 into P1 with a supreme drive

24 Jun

Picture courtesy of formulaone.com

Driver Ratings Europe 12, Pt.1, Caterham, Ferrari and Force India

Heikki Kovalainen: 8/10 Q16 F14

What a lap Heikki drove on saturday to make it to Q2 and then he impressed further to start from 16th on the grid. Heikki’s race wasn’t so good, he had a rare bad start and then lost more time when Vergne collided with him. But a strong post safety car performance gave Heikki 14th place.

Vitaly Petrov: 8/10 Q20 F13

Qualifying wasn’t as impressive as Heikki, but it was a very impressive race by the Russian. He put in some great laps post safety car to find himself in 10th, but Caterham couldn’t pick up their first points as he was swiftly overtaken by Schumacher and Webber. Petrov was later swiped by Ricciardo which left Petrov needing to pit, but some quick last few laps saw Vitaly finish an impressive 13th place.

Fernando Alonso: 10/10 Q11 F1 #DriverOfTheDay

May have been dreadful in qualifying not making it to Q2 but Alonso was phenomenal in the race. He moved up to 8th at the start, but it was the charge after his first pit stop that  got people interested as he overtook for fun. He overtook Hamilton in the pits then was sublime overtaking Grosjean before profiting from Vettel’s retirement to finish first. Inspirational.

Felipe Massa: 6/10 Q13 F16

Really unlucky, only just behind Alonso in qualifying, and was running 10th early on, but after receiving a big hit from Kobayashi just after the safety car he was destined to run low down.

Nico Hulkenburg: 9/10 Q8 F5

What a drive from such a young driver, he looked promising early on but found himself down in 11th when the safety car came out. Hulkenburg then profited from drivers retiring and other pitting to find himself up in 5th. From there he looked set to finish 7th when Schumacher and Webber passed him, but Hamilton and Maldonado’s clash on the same lap saw him reinstated as 5th. Great job.

Paul Di Resta: 8/10 Q10 F7

Set great pace early on in the race, even finding himself up in 2nd at one point. He then put his one stop strategy to good use, to storm up to 6th. Like Hulkenburg he was passed by Schumacher and Webber but profited from Hamilton and Maldonado, Paul was very unlucky to lose 6th to Rosberg on the final lap to leave Di Resta to pick up 6 points for P7.

Picture courtesy of formulaone.com

Valencia driver ratings.

21 Jun

Sebastian Vettel 5/10

Starting to get a bit dull with Vettel constantly winning, this is reducing his scores as he’s only achieving what’s expected.

Webber 6/10

Qualified 2nd to prove the Red Bull can be drove quickly by him but couldn’t match Alonso in the race. Sadly for Mark it’s going to take a huge push to turn around the standings and finish 1st.

Hamilton 7/10

Well he finished the race but didn’t really perform to the expected expectations. In the race Lewis finished half a minute behind the top 3. Seems like race pace is the problem for McLaren as Hamilton was swamped by both the Ferraris at the start.

Button 6/10

Not at the same level as he was in Montreal and qualifying 6th ruined his chances of winning, Jenson almost lost 6th to Rosberg in the race but he quickly got it back again. The big problem JB had was finishing a whole minute behind Vettel.

Alonso 8/10

Provided the excitement  in the race by attacking the Red Bulls but still couldn’t match Vettel, qualifying 4th wasn’t as good as he may have been expecting but took Hamilton early to set up an attack on Webber.

Massa 8/10

Another good performance by Massa will help Maranello to regain confidence in him. Biggest problem was using too many sets of softs in qualifying and this held him back in the race. Took Hamilton at the first corner and could have gone up to second at the second corner if he hadn’t held back.

Rosberg 6/10

Another good performance by Rosberg, if he keeps this up he may pick up his first win in the next few seasons.

Schumacher 4/10

The only reason he was so far back was due to hitting Petrov and losing the front wing – something he admitted was his fault later. But Schumacher  wasn’t as good as he has been.

Petrov 3/10

Not good is all I can say, Vitaly failed to qualify for Q3 and then manages to finish 15th! The only excuse Vitaly can have for his performance is that Schumacher’s conflict with him fazed him.

Heidfeld 6/10

Showed Vitaly Petrov that the car was worth of doing well at Valencia by out qualifying his team mate to make it to Q3 (qualifying has been one of Nicks weak points this year) and then holding on to a point for the finish. After Renaults great start to the campaign I think their car is starting to lag behind the leaders.

Adrian Sutil 7/10

Showing signs of closing the gap in qualifying to his teammate Paul Di Resta by out qualifying him and making it to Q3 (although not going out to set a time is disappointing for him) and then a good race clawing up 1 place to finish with 2 points.

Paul Di Resta 5/10

Not Di Resta’s best race as he failed to outperform his team mate in qualifying before managing to lose two places in the race to allow this to not go down in his all time best races.

Kamui Kobayashi 4/10

You know a race isn’t going to have overtaking when Kobayashi doesn’t manages to lose places in the race and isn’t making headlines for amazing manoeuvres. Kamui would have got a 5 if it hadn’t been for the way you just expect him to liven up a race.

Sergio Perez 7/10

Another good race by the Ferrari prospect (he’s part of their driver training program and is a serious contender to replace Massa at the Scud) saw him rise from 16th to 11th and made up for his teammates lack of excitement.

Rubens Barrichello 5/10

Average at best qualified 13th and finished 12th in a rather uneventful day at the office.

Pastor Maldonado 4/10

Another Williams driver who did next to nothing to liven up a dull race although his stalling at a corner bringing out a red flag was the most exciting thing to happen in qualifying. Managed to lose 3 places during the race, all to drivers who shot up the race timings.

Sebastian Buemi 8/10

A good rise from 17th to 13th ensured that the fight for the Toro Rosso seat is becoming even more tense and exciting, apart from that he was very much like the race: dull and uneventful.

Jaime Alguersuari 10/10

Can I give higher than 10. In a otherwise dull race Jaime set Spanish hearts racing by rising, wait for it, 10 spots to finish 8th. I’m a fan of Jaime and this race proved the potential he has, I can only hope he carries on like this to secure the Toro Rosso seat.

Heikki Kovalainen, Jarno Trulli, Timo Glock, Jerome D’Ambrosio, Vitantonio Liuzzi and Narain Karthikeyan 6/10

Sadly none of them were taking any headlines or really overtaking. The main reason for this is probably that there wasn’t a safety car which would have gave them a chance of taking a risk which may pull off.

The race as a whole 1/10

In one word dull. In 5 dull dull dull dull dull. I’m enjoying the new Pirellis but they just couldn’t liven it up. I think that with this race losing it’s pull factor that we need two races in Germany (Hockenheim  and Nurburgring) both are great tracks and deserve the GP and Germany has the highest number of drivers in the championship and the two of the current biggest icons: Schue and Vettel.

Driver Ratings, Pt.1, Monaco 12. Caterham, Ferrari and Force India

27 May

Heikki Kovalainen: 10/10 Q18 S17 F13#DriverOfTheDay

What a drive by Heikki! He was fantastic! Heikki has gained a reputation as a good starter this year which is very important for Monaco and saw him rise to 13th from the start, ahead of Jenson Button, and once he was ahead he never let him past. Sadly his last ten laps weren’t good, he had an incident with Perez that saw him lose his front wing and 11th place.

Vitaly Petrov: 5/10 Q19 S18 F ret.

It wasn’t Vitaly’s race, he lost 3 places in the first 10 laps and then he was forced to retire with an electrical fault.

Fernando Alonso: 9/10 Q6 S5 F3

After a lacklustre start to the season the Ferrari is suddenly looking quick and Fernando is currently leading the championship. He benefited from Grosjean’s retirement on lap one to move up to 4th and then a sublime pit stop brought him out ahead of Lewis Hamilton and into the top 3. Maybe he could have caught Nico Rosberg but Ferrari and Fernando are moving from strength to strength.

Felipe Massa: 10/10 Q7 S7 F6

Maybe not your standard performance to deserve a 10 but it was a weekend of dreams for Felipe. He was very quick in practice and he was fastest in Q2 meaning he qualified for Q3 – the first time he’s managed that this year. Felipe had a great first 20 laps and was driving quicker than Alonso for a lot of it but he couldn’t keep the momentum for the whole race and 6th place is another step in the right direction for Massa.

Nico Hulkenburg: 7/10 Q11 S10 F8

He was quickest in Q1 and was so close to qualifying for Q3, only o.1 seconds off the time required. Nico did drive a good race as well especially as he had never completed a race lap of Monaco having crashed on the first lap in 2010. Maybe Hulkenburg will be upset to have finished behind Di Resta but it’s a well earned 4 points for Nico.

Paul Di Resta: 7/10 Q15 S14 F7

Qualifying didn’t go well for Paul but he came alive come race day. Last year he needed 3 noses to finish the race, this year he was fantastic. He gained 3 places on the first lap and it was a sign of things to come as he kept on moving up the places to pick up 6 points.