Interview with Kovalainen

After scoring his best result of the season in the Canadian Grand Prix, Heikki Kovalainen has enjoyed another strong weekend in Indianapolis to earn his best grid position so far

Interview with Kovalainen

Autosport.com caught up with the Finn to find out how life was going at Renault, what his weekend had been like and what he thought about the strange rumours linking him with Williams.

Q: How much of a help has it been this weekend to have a fairly straightforward run through practice with no dramas or incidents?

Heikki Kovalainen: "I think the qualifying result shows that it has been a different story. Obviously I missed a lot of practice time in Montreal due to mistakes, and did not really have time to setup the car before qualifying.

"This has been a straightforward weekend without incidents and technical problems. And straightaway the result is much better. So for sure it helps to have a more straightforward weekend now."

Q: How was qualifying?

Kovalainen: "No big problems. Everything is going okay. All the practice with the car we have been able to improve it little by little.

"Things went pretty well. In first qualifying the lap was quite good with the harder tyre. In second qualifying it was not a fantastic lap, but in any case it was a reasonable lap with no big mistakes.

"And then in Q3, I burned a bit of fuel, we went on the harder tyre and then we put the softer tyre for the last run. And the last lap was very good.

"We have a good strategy for the race. We hope we can go reasonably long and score some good points as well.

Q: Are you simply happy to have a good qualifying result?

Kovalainen: "Yes, and for the team. We are happy to be where we are. But of course we want to get better. We want to improve our pace and our position, but at the moment we feel we have done a good job today, pretty much maximising what we had."

Q: Was the result in Canada a help for your confidence?

Kovalainen: "No. I have been always confident, it is the other people who thought I was losing my confidence. I had no problem with my confidence.

"After one or two bad races, it is part of life. I can get over it very easily. Now we are back on a normal way. No magic happened in the last week. We have done all the practice sessions, we have been able to improve the car and I have got a good feeling."

Q: In the last few weeks, have you noticed a real improvement with the car?

Kovalainen: "Since Monaco, as soon as we got the new front wing the car has been a lot better and a lot more consistent. Of course we are still not as fast as McLaren. We want to get back to win races, but we are going in the right direction and we will keep working hard."

Q: Where do you think Renault stand at the moment?

Kovalainen: "I think we are pretty much where we are now. After practice we thought maybe we could be challenging the BMWs and Nick Heidfeld, but we were not quite able to do it. We knew that the top four and McLaren are, for sure, on their own at the moment. I think the position where I am now is pretty much where we are."

Q: How confident are you for race pace?

Kovalainen: "I am quite confident looking at the running on Saturday morning. The long run pace seems to be quite okay, so we should not have any particular worries. I think everybody has got to manage their tyres, and so do we, but I feel confident. It is certainly better to start there and the back of the grid."

Q: What about the start, with such a long run down to the first corner?

Kovalainen: "It is possible to overtake. The reaction time to the light will be very important, because there is such a long straight line. Even a little bit of a sleepy start and you will lose positions. But I am looking forward to the start. It is certainly possible to overtake into the first corner."

Q: What was your reaction to the rumours that have come out linking you to Williams?

Kovalainen: "I don't read too much into that. I am quite happy where I am at the moment, and honestly if there was something serious going on I would be the first one to know. And since last weekend there have not been any complaints about anything and I find it a little bit funny after my best result of the year that these kind of rumours come.

"In any case, I will keep my focus on the business and not read too much into these rumours. The first time I heard about it was when other people spoke to me about it, and my first reaction was that it was funny."

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