• Brazilian Grand Prix - Lotus

Lotus return proves I'm a better driver - Kovalainen

ESPN Staff
November 22, 2013 « Grosjean hoping for a dry race | Alonso pleased to get in wet running »
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Heikki Kovalainen believes his return to F1 with Lotus at the end of this season has proved he is a better driver now than he was in his McLaren days.

Kovalainen is subbing in for Kimi Raikkonen at the final two races of the season, and after car problems in the race in the USA he bounced back with the fourth fastest time during a wet Friday in Brazil. He says his ability to come into a new car and immediately be on the pace is proof that he has made a lot of progress as a driver during his time at the back of the grid with Caterham.

"I feel that I have made a lot of progress in the Caterham years, since the McLaren days, and I think that's correct," he said. "It's fair to say I've made good progress, improving a lot of areas that were not good enough when I was at McLaren and I was struggling. This is good to see that in a competitive car I am straight away back up there and on the pace. That gives me satisfaction having made the decision to remain in Formula One as a reserve driver and also for the future if there are other opportunities I think I'm up for the job.

"Now that I can race again the signs are good. That's pleasing, and of course I have to carry the form all the way through the weekend, but whatever happens here and in whatever happened in Austin, the potential has been there. I think it's a fact that I've made progress and that's difficult to prove when you are at Caterham and at the back of the grid. But the progress that I feel I've made is correct."

Kovalainen believes the Lotus is not as competitive in the wet, but he is happy with his car.

"It was very useful to get some running in these conditions. Again, it confirms the car is handling well in these conditions. It's easy to lean on and you get a feel for it straight away. You can start pushing the boundaries and we were able to start the process straight away. So far, so good.

"Wet conditions have been tricky for Lotus cars in the past but there are still some areas where we struggled a bit, especially in the high-speed corners. There are still a few things that we can do, but who knows about the weather tomorrow? We don't want to make too many compromises."

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