Kovalainen retains GP2 lead after Monza Heikki Kovalainen has retained his lead over rival Nico Rosberg following a weekend of mixed fortunes in Monza. Having won the Saturday race from pole the Renault Driver Development squad member finished...
Kovalainen retains GP2 lead after Monza
Heikki Kovalainen has retained his lead over rival Nico Rosberg following a weekend of mixed fortunes in Monza.
Having won the Saturday race from pole the Renault Driver Development squad member finished fifth in Sunday's event, after losing ground with an off in the middle of the race.
The Saturday win meant that Heikki started the second race from eighth on the grid. There was confusion at the start after a problem with the lights, and Heikki was one of several drivers who remained on the grid while the bulk of the field set off.
After a delay the race started behind a safety car, with everyone in their original positions. Heikki had moved up to sixth with the Arden car when he ran wide at Parabolica on lap 7, and dropped back to ninth. From there he drove a great race to recover to fifth place, and he was right on the tail of the fourth-placed car at the flag. However, Rosberg finished second and was thus able to narrow the gap.
Jose Maria Lopez had another frustrating race with DAMS. A problem on Saturday forced him to start near the back, but he was able to make good progress through the field. He had got up to 12th when a driver he'd already passed, Toni Vilander, attempted to get by at the first chicane on lap 9. The cars made contact, and Jose was knocked into a spin. Afterwards the Coloni team manager apologised to Jose for the incident, admitting that his driver was at fault.
Action resumes at Spa next weekend. Jose finished third in last year's F3000 event, while Heikki has not raced at the Belgian circuit before. However twice in recent weeks he has had the opportunity to sample the Eau Rouge section at the wheel of a Renault F1 car when the team opted to use its pre-race shakedown mileage at the track.
Heikki Kovalainen: 'At the start I knew the other people had made a mess, so I just stopped the engine and said I'm not going anywhere! Once we got going it was going OK, but then I made a mistake at the last corner, I just outbraked myself and went wide. After that I managed to get up to sixth, and then I passed Adam Carroll on the straight for fifth. I guess you can't win every time. Spa should be OK. I'm looking forward to it, and I think we are more competitive with the low downforce spec. At least I know one corner!'
Jose Maria Lopez: 'I was having fun, and I passed many people in the first few laps. I was following Scott Speed and doing the same speed as him. I passed Vilander at Ascari, and in two corners I gained 30 metres. We arrived at the first chicane and he just braked too late and tried to pass me. I tried to leave space but he arrived so long he pushed me out. My car stalled, and that was it. He's new and he's come into the category, and yesterday he did bad things with the leaders. It's a shame because we made some significant changes to the car, and we wanted to see how it was reacting. I like Spa a lot, and I hope it will be better for us than Monza.'