Following the outcome of the GP2 Series championship, the Renault Driver Development member, Heikki Kovalainen, took time to talk to renaultf1.com about the day's event.
Heikki, you and Nico Rosberg have had a good battle towards the end of the season. In your opinion, what made the difference for him to snatch the title from you?
Clearly, his team has found some serious pace towards mid-season and we haven't been able to match it. We haven't had any specific technical problems, but compared to Nico's team, we did not find the solution which would have helped us fight at the same level with them by the end of the season. Overall, it's been really close competition between Nico and me: I won four Saturday races and 1 Sunday race; he, on the other hand, won more Sunday races and earned a lot of extra bonus points for fastest lap and pole position. That must be another big reason why I did not win the title.
It must be quite a disappointment for you to have lead the championship since the beginning the season and then lose so many points in Spa with only one final round to go.
Of course, it is really disappointing to lose the championship especially because we were not quick enough. Like yesterday in Bahrain, I did everything I could to keep up with both Nico and Premat, but I just couldn't stay close to them. What happened in Spa was just bad luck: we gambled and if it had rained like we hoped it would then maybe it would have been a different story. But, what's done is done and there's no reason to have regrets: we tried this strategy in Spa because Nico's car competitiveness made us take risks. As the title has been decided on the last round, you can say it's been a really close competition between us and I'm really frustrated that we could not improve the performance of our car so that we can match with them. But, you know, we all have the same car and the same engine so it was up to us to find the solutions. Still, even though I am disappointed that I did not win the title, I'm still satisfied with my season: I have shown some good driving abilities and put in strong performances. I have learned a lot this year and I know this experience will help me in the future.
Indeed, you've had a great season. What do you think were the highlights? I would say my wins under challenging circumstances such as the one in
NÃ¼rburgring when I started 17th and won, or my fight with Pantano during that same race. I loved getting pole in Monaco, even if the outcome of the race did not work out as planned. All in all, I will look back over this season and feel proud with what I achieved.
What are your views on the first year of the GP2 Series as a whole?
It's definitely a good championship: it provides a lot of action and close racing. The fact that we all have the same car to begin with ensures that the driver has a big role in the outcome of the championship. This year has been really competitive with a lot of talented young drivers. Any of us could have won a race and that's what's been very interesting. I believe that the GP2 Series has a serious future ahead of it.