Q & A with Heikki Kovalainen

Q: Was this your best win?

Q & A with Heikki Kovalainen

Heikki Kovalainen: I don't know - there are many wins this year that are special. The one in Imola was a nice start, but many people had a problem there, and Magny Cours was a tough one and close all the time, the Nurburgring was a tough one, with Pantano behind me all the time, and Turkey was strategy and very nice to win after some difficult times. This is very nice as well, to beat Nico in a straight fight was a good feeling, and I was clearly struggling a little bit with the rear grip so he was a little bit quicker, but I never gave up, which I'm very happy about.

Q: He was six seconds behind at one stage - were you worried when he was right on your tail?

Kovalainen: No - I didn't know what would happen but I saw that he was catching me, and then he sort of stayed there - he was 0.8, 0.7, 1.1 behind - and I saw it was easy for him to get really close, so I though with six or seven laps to go that he was not going to pass me if I didn't make a mistake, and maybe in the last two or three laps he stopped pushing or something so I pushed a little bit and managed to pull away a bit.

Q: It certainly looked a tough race watching it - was it very hard race inside the car?

Kovalainen: It was tough, but it was under control - I just had to be patient and not to overdrive and lose the car. I was struggling a little bit and so the main thing was not to make a mistake, and it isn't easy when someone is right on your arse, because you can't afford to make a single mistake. But I did make a mistake, in the middle of the race at one of the Lesmos where I had a bit of a moment, so I really had to push there.

Q: How was your start?

Kovalainen: It wasn't fantastic - I opted for the safe start and gave a lot of revs to make sure that I don't bog down, because in Hockenheim and Hungary I nearly bogged down. It wasn't great - Nico got along side me, and Speed was on the other side of me, but I managed to brake late and although I missed the apex I was on the inside for the next one, so I had the right of way.

Q: You seemed to struggle to lap Vilander - was he a problem for you?

Kovalainen: I don't think he was a big problem, although obviously I lost a bit of time - he's driving his race and maybe I wasn't close enough, but I don't know if he saw me or not. He gave me enough room at the Ascari and I could get past, but of course it's new for him and he has his own race.

Q: Around that time your car seemed to be quite a handful - was your car becoming a problem then?

Kovalainen: Yes - it was a bit strange from the beginning - actually for the first few laps it felt okay, and normally when we lose a little front grip we get a balance in the car, but now we didn't lose any grip and the balance stayed the same, and then started to eat the rear tyres all the time - it was just really making the car oversteer all the time, so I had to be patient in the corners and try not to make any mistakes.

Q: You've got ten points today, but so has Nico - does this affect anything for tomorrow?

Kovalainen: No, I don't think so - whether the gap is nine points or seven or twelve or fifteen, at this point I don't think it makes a big difference. At this stage it is wide open, and the main thing is just to score points all the time and not to make any mistakes.

Q: You will both be back together again on the grid for tomorrow - what are your predictions?

Kovalainen: I expect it will be a hard race again, and hopefully I will be ahead again! We'll see - I'm sure he'll want to be ahead of me, but the main thing is to overtake the guys in front, and we should have the pace to do that, although it's never going to be easy.

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Kovalainen Wins Race 1 at Monza
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