• United States Grand Prix - FP2

Kovalainen 'on the edge' quickly

ESPN Staff
November 15, 2013 « Grosjean impressed with Kovalainen debut | Button reluctantly accepts grid penalty »
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Heikki Kovalainen said he was pleased with how quickly he was able to get "on the edge" with the Lotus during practice for the United States Grand Prix.

On his first outing for the team filling in for the injured Kimi Raikkonen, Kovalainen ended FP2 fifth quickest and ahead of team-mate Romain Grosjean. Although fuel corrected times meant Kovalainen may have been slower than Grosjean, it was still an impressive performance and he said it was an encouraging sign that he could push so quickly.

"I didn't really have any objectives other than to lean on it as soon as possible and try to be on the edge as soon as I feel comfortable," Kovalainen said. "I think we achieved that reasonably well today. The car was well balanced almost straight away, we didn't have to chase the set-up too much and perhaps the tyres here are not going away straight away as well so it gives you a few laps to try. So that worked quite well. I was able to get a feel for it quite quickly and push on it and lean on it quite quickly.

"We had a good day today but it could be different tomorrow. The margins are still very small so if you're a little bit off the pace, you make a small mistake or the balance is slightly out or you don't get the tyres right in the right window you could be out of the top 10 very easily. So we need to wait and see what happens tomorrow and on Sunday. Whatever happens tomorrow doesn't mean Sunday is going to be good or bad."

Despite the strong day one area where Kovalainen admitted he had hit trouble was with his seating position in the car.

"We're just making a new seat. I haven't hurt anything but the bucket that we did it in was slightly different. Basically I used Kimi's seat and it's slightly bigger than what I need everywhere, so we just need to fill it up around the edges. The bucket around the shoulders that we used at the factory was slightly different and I'm actually sliding out of the seat a little bit because of that, so we're using one of his race seats now as the shell and just modifying it around the shoulders so that I slide less. I was sliding quite a lot today but it's pretty normal that you make a seat and it doesn't always go perfectly straight away."

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