Monaco GP preview: Heikki Kovalainen

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren-Mercedes, Istanbul, 2008, 470150

Heikki Kovalainen must be an early candidate for ‘unluckiest driver of the year’. OK, he’s not had Sebastian Vettel’s Series of Unfortunate Events, but he has had some rotten fortune:

Australia – Strategy ruined by safety car
Malaysia – Docked five places on grid
Spain – Crashed heavily after car failure
Turkey – Suffered puncture on first lap

That’s left him 21 points adrift of Kimi Raikkonen in the championship. Can he shrug off his misfortune this weekend and mount a comeback?

Kovalainen won’t want a repeat of his 2005 Monaco experience. He was leading the GP2 race by miles when his team fumbled his pit stop, losing him the race. Last year he was baulked by David Coulthard during qualifying, started 15th, and was only able to make up two places by the chequered flag.

But bad luck doesn’t last forever and McLaren’s Martin Whitmarsh made it quite clear that Kovalainen had the pace to win in Turkey.

His qualifying performance was especially impressive and a front row starting position at Monte-Carlo means the job of winning the race is half done. Beating Hamilton in qualifying again would also reduce the chance of his race being spoiled by the safety car.

What do you think Kovalainen can do in Monaco?