Kovalainen Celebrates ‘Best Qualifying Lap of the Season’ in Korea


Heikki Kovalainen - Photo Credit: Lorenzo Bellanca/LAT Photographic
Heikki Kovalainen - Photo Credit: Lorenzo Bellanca/LAT Photographic

 

Heikki Kovalainen suspects that his qualifying lap in Korea today, which gave him P19 on the grid for tomorrow’s race, could have been his best of the season.

The Finn out-qualified Team Lotus team-mate Jarno Trulli by over half a second, but was still about a second off the pace of Rubens Barrichello, who will start one place higher up the grid.

“For me that was probably my best qualifying lap of the season,” said Kovalainen. “Next to Hungary, I think I got as much as I possibly could out of the car and nailed every sector, so it's a good feeling to know when you've wrung as much as you can from a single lap.

“We worked hard last night and today to find a balance that would suit the dry conditions today and tomorrow, and I think we've done that, so I'm feeling pretty good about the race. It'll be very interesting to see how the tyre strategies play out, and if we can keep up the pace from Suzuka we'll be there or thereabouts.”

Trulli seemed reasonably satisfied with how his afternoon had gone. “I think we did ok today, but there was definitely a bit more in the car,” said the Italian. “This morning I had a really good setup and found a lot of grip, but this afternoon it just didn't feel quite the same so I wasn't able to get as much out of the car as I could.

“Still, I'm reasonably happy with where we are – we're well ahead of the cars behind and close enough on race pace to a couple of the teams just ahead, so another good start tomorrow and we'll be ok.”

Chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne is hoping that both his drivers can repeat their feat of last weekend where they both finished the race on the lead lap.

“Today was a reasonably satisfying qualifying session for us,” he said. “Jarno was struggling this afternoon with the grip levels on his car, but I still think he found as much as he could from his car, and Heikki put in a couple of decent laps on both runs to finish just ahead.

“Tomorrow's race will be dominated by tyre degradation levels and in similar situations this season our speed in the race has given us the chance to race with a pack of cars ahead, so I think we will be able to fight in the race tomorrow and repeat our performance in Suzuka.”