Excellent strategic calls and and another fine drive in the wet in Shanghai allowed Heikki Kovalainen to bring his Lotus home ahead of one of the established teams’ cars on merit for the first time.
|Jarno Trulli||Heikki Kovalainen|
|Qualifying time comparison (Q1)||1’39.399 (-0.121)||1’39.520|
|Average race lap||2’31.106 (+33.425)||1’57.681|
Held up by getting the tyre choice wrong at the start, then ended his race early with an hydraulic problem.
Noticeably slower than his team mate when they were on track at the same time during the race, but Trulli ran true to form by holding the upper hand in qualifying.
While many other drivers – including his team mate – were duped into pitting too early for intermediate tyres, Kovalainen stayed out and reached as high as sixth place:
The decision to stay out early on dry tyres was made by me and the team together – it wasn’t wet enough to come in and as soon as the race started I could see the rain had calmed down so we agreed it was the right call to stick with the plan. The other cars on wet tyres were obviously struggling so that worked out very well.
Although he inevitably slipped back down the order when Nico Hülkenberg got his tyre choice wrong after the second safety car period it offered Kovalainen the chance to scalp one of the established teams.
He seized the chance splendidly, lapping consistently and error-free. Hülkenberg took up to five seconds per lap out of him, but by the end of the race Kovalainen still had nine seconds in hand. Giant-killing stuff.