Kovalainen: Track was safest option

Heikki Kovalainen says he drove down the start-finish straight, rather than head into the pitlane, with his on-fire Lotus because he thought that was the safest thing to do

Kovalainen: Track was safest option

The Lotus driver caused a stir in the closing stages of the race when his T127 was engulfed in flames thanks to fuel-system damage caused by a collision with Sebastien Buemi's Scuderia Toro Rosso.

As the flames took hold of his car, Kovalainen elected not to drive into the pits - and instead he coasted down the start-finish straight before coming to a halt in front of the Williams pits.

Speaking about the incident afterwards, Kovalainen told AUTOSPORT: "I think it looked more spectacular than it really was.

"When you get some fluids on the hot exhaust it is always going to catch a big flame, and I was just trying to find a marshal with some extinguisher. I eventually chose to stop in front of the Williams boys and they gave me some extinguishers."

When asked why he did not go down the pits, Kovalainen said: "I thought about it, but then I thought it was too big a fire and it was not safe enough to go in the middle of the people, and at the end of the race there might be people celebrating there.

"So I thought it was better to stop on the main straight. I didn't realise it was that big a fire until I was in the pit-lane entry, so I had to think about it.

"Then I thought about crossing to the right hand side of the track but I thought it was too high speed a corner to cross the track with such flames. So then I just tried to crawl it around the corner. That is what I was looking for - finding marshals.

"The engine was dead. It was game over by then."

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