Q & A with Kovalainen on the Fuji SC row
|By Mark Glendenning||Friday, October 5th 2007, 10:12 GMT|
Q. In light of the talk surrounding the possibility of Hamilton being instructed to face the stewards regarding last week's Japanese GP, how do you feel? You could get your first win!
Heikki Kovalainen: That would be nice! But honestly, I don't know what they are going to do. I haven't got any more to say about the situation; I don't want to get involved too much.
Obviously it looks like he has done something that was, I think, not acceptable. Webber has been quite outspoken about it, and all I have to say is that when I was behind Hamilton, he was also doing a little bit of accelerating and slowing down, and that moment I didn't inform my team about anything because I didn't think it was anything too dangerous, and I was able to cope with it.
But of course, you know, if I get the victory ... in Formula One, you don't get any style points. If they decide to throw him out, it's fantastic for me!
Q. Would you prefer your first win like this, or on the track with champagne?
HK: Oh, it would be better with the champagne. But if we win the race because of this case, then there is going to be champagne anyway! Like I said, there are no style points on how you win,
But it's not up to me to decide. The FIA will make a decision, and whatever the decision is, we will take it. We will move on and just focus on racing. There has been a lot of politics lately.
Q. Did you see the video of Hamilton?
HK: Yeah, I saw the video.
Q. How did it look to you?
HK: Well, to me it looks like Lewis was slowing down a lot. First he was quite close to the safety car and then he slowed down, and then Webber went to the inside at turn 14, and he had to slow obviously not to pass Lewis. And I think Vettel reacted too late - or didn't react at all - to Mark, and he hit Mark.
It is obvious that Lewis slows down a lot and then accelerates. This is what we talked about in Fuji at the drivers' briefing; it was the main talking point - that you can do a little bit of tyre-warming, but you don't do it too much.
You can come up a little bit behind the safety car, but you cannot do this [demonstrating with hands] because the problem is that it is like a chain reaction. One slows down at the front, and the second and third cannot react.
We all agreed that when the safety car lights go away, we should keep a constant pace. Whether it is slower or faster, we keep constant. And it looks like Lewis didn't keep constant pace. But that's all I have seen.
Q. Do you think that will be the main issue in the drivers' briefing in China?
HK: Probably. There was already a lot of talk about it in Fuji, and this happened straight after we talked about it. So I am sure there will be a lot of heated conversation. But I'll stay out of it! I'm going to focus on the race.
Q. How about if it is wet again on Sunday?
HK: Any weather for me is fine. Today the competitiveness didn't look fantastic, but I think there is more to come from our team, even in the dry. If it starts to rain then it's all open again. You never know what's going to happen. Any rain in these countries ... you might get a big shower and it might really change the situation. Honestly, for me, the weather is fine.
Q. Just back to Fuji for one moment, there were reports that you were asked by the team to not attack Lewis late in the race, and to hold station in second place. Can you clarify that?
HK: Yeah, that was not actually what the team told me. What I meant to say was, not to go too close to Hamilton and not to be alongside him behind the safety car. Nobody told me that I am not allowed to overtake. Of course I am allowed to overtake.
But the reason I stayed on that side of Lewis behind the safety car was because he was doing a little bit of this [makes speeding up and slowing down movements with hands], so I felt safer on the other side of him.
Sometimes I was on the left hand side, sometimes I was on the right hand side, because he was doing a little bit of moving around and I wanted to avoid hitting him. Even in a straight line it was difficult to see where he was going, so I stayed on the side just in case.
Q. I understand that the FIA instructed your team to tell you not to get too close to Lewis. Why wouldn't the FIA simply inform Lewis to keep a five-car gap between himself and the safety car, as per the rules?
HK: Honestly, you would need to ask Charlie [Whiting] from the FIA. I don't know why. I was surprised to hear from my team that I had a warning from the FIA to not get too close to Lewis. I was surprised, because I didn't feel I was causing any danger to anyone.
Of course when the restart is about to happen I am going to be there every time because I want to try to make a move as soon as I can, and I was trying to be as close as possible to him. But I don't know why no one said anything to Lewis.
Q. Is that strange, or is it normal under the safety car?
HK: I don't want to say anything about that. Honestly, it's not my business. All I heard was that my team was telling me to take it easy with him.
Q. Can the FIA track Hamilton's behaviour by telemetry?
HK: It's never easy, but they should be able to see quite clearly what he did. I guess they have been going through it a lot. For me, I'm not going to make the decision, so it's going to be difficult to say. But like I said, whatever decision they make, I hope they make and I hope we learn from this. If I get the win, great. If I don't it's still OK. We just have to move on after this.
Q. Do you think that the storm that is brewing against Lewis after Fuji is because of what he did, or because of the situation in the closing part of the championship?
HK: It's also a difficult question for me to answer. I have not been getting involved with the whole thing too much. My team is handling the situation in how they feel is the right way to do it, and I don't know about the reaction from the other teams. That's all I can say.