Heikki Kovalainen has blamed his failure to get the start right for his disappointing result in the Brazilian Grand Prix.
The Finn fell from 11th to 15th on the first lap, then dropped behind both Pastor Maldonado and Paul di Resta on lap two to run second, partly as a result of struggling with tire temperature. He went on to finish a lapped 14th and while he was satisfied with his performance during practice and qualifying, he was not pleased with how the race went.
“The disappointing was just Sunday, because the rest was OK,” Kovalainen said. “Yesterday, in qualifying, it was not perfect but it was not a disaster.
“Today, again, I struggled at the start because I couldn’t get the procedure right and I was straight away on the back foot. After that, we had to gamble a little bit, stopping a little bit early to try to jump some cars but the start was the big issue today.”
Kovalainen, replacing Kimi Raikkonen in the final two races of the season, also made a bad start from eighth on the grid in last week’s United States GP, falling from eighth to 12th. But after working hard on the procedures since then, he did not expect the same problem at Interlagos.
“I had some troubles at Austin with the start and we have done a lot of work this week trying to make sure that the start was good and I still struggled with that, so it was disappointing. The reaction time in Austin was only because I was out of synch with the launch procedure and was still pressing buttons when everybody went. This time, I gave myself more time to get everything right but I still didn’t get the settings correct for the start.”
The Finn failed to score any points as Raikkonen’s stand-in, and Lotus finished the season in fourth place in the constructors’ championship. Lotus’ third driver Davide Valsecchi, who believed he would land the seat before it was handed to Kovalainen, said on Twitter right after the race that he was disappointed he had not been picked.
“I told to Lotus that was better to choose my heart and my motivation than the experience of Kova,” he wrote. “I’m really sorry they didn’t do it.”