Kovalainen charges to podium in GP2 sprint race Renault Driver Development squad member Heikki Kovalainen scored a superb third place in the Sunday morning GP2 'sprint' race at Imola, following on from his win in the first event on...
Kovalainen charges to podium in GP2 sprint race
Renault Driver Development squad member Heikki Kovalainen scored a superb third place in the Sunday morning GP2 'sprint' race at Imola, following on from his win in the first event on Saturday.
As the winner of the longer race, Heikki had to start eighth on the reversed grid. Despite that handicap he worked his way up the field in style, passing former Minardi F1 driver Gianmaria Bruni along the way. He then enjoyed an entertaining battle with Neel Jani, during which the Swiss twice jumped the last chicane in a vain attempt to stay ahead of the Finn. By the time he got past into third, Heikki was unable to catch the third place car, but was more than happy to visit the podium again. He is now leading the GP2 series points battle for Arden.
Meanwhile Jose Maria Lopez started seventh in the DAMS entry, after finishing second on Saturday. He ran behind Heikki for the first part of the race, only to drop back after a spin. He eventually finished outside the points in 11th. Nevertheless he currently lies third in the championship.
After Saturday's problems all the cars in the field were equipped with different brakes for the second race. The action kicks off again at Barcelona in a fortnight's time.
Heikki Kovalainen (Arden): 'If I had been able to pass Jani a bit earlier, I probably would have been challenging for second. The only problem was that like yesterday after three or four laps I had brake fading, so I backed off a little bit in traffic. As soon as I got some clear air, it was fine. To get a win and a podium is a very good start. I would have been happy to have been fifth or sixth today, and I didn't know how difficult it was going to be, to make moves. I enjoyed this track, but I didn't have a lot of experience of it. So probably it will be a little bit easier in Barcelona, and I'm really looking forward to it.'
Jose Maria Lopez (DAMS): 'In Tamburello corner I was trying to overtake Bruni, who was slower than me. I just lost the car at the back and couldn't control it, so I spun. I wasn't really pushing or risking anything and I didn't expect it to happen I tried to come back but I'd lost too much time. It's a shame we couldn't at least finish fourth or fifth, but at least I got second yesterday. We haven't been very quick in the test in Barcelona, but I'm looking forward to it.'