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Heikki hits back at Briatore crit

2013-11-22 09:44

IT IS WHAT IT IS: Lotus has roped in Heikki Kovalainen to finish the 2013 season for the team, but now the driver has hit back at his former manager Flavio Briatore for criticising him. Image: AFP

SAO PAULO, Brazil - Heikki Kovalainen has responded here ahead of the 2013 Brazilian F1 GP to his Italian former manager Flavio Briatore who claimed Lotus should never have signed him.

Drafted to replace the injured Kimi Raikkonen for the last two races of 2013, fellow Finn Kovalainen initially impressed in preparation of the US GP in Austin, Texas, the previous weekend but finished a disappointing 15th.

Briatore, Kovalainen's former manager and Renault team boss, reportedly observed that Lotus clearly got its choice wrong and should have promoted reserve driver Davide Valsecchi instead.

'I DON'T WANT TO FIGHT WITH HIM'

Briatore reportedly said: "The 2013 US GP showed that Lotus made a very bad choice choosing Kovalainen."

When told about Briatore's remarks, Kovalainen told Turun Sanomat newspaper in Brazil on Thursday: "I don't have any problem with Flavio. I don't want to have a fight with him. He said what he said and, as an Italian, he is clearly of the opinion that Valsecchi should be driving. I can understand that.

"Of course it's easy to say something when the race goes bad but I hope he also remembers to praise me when the race goes well."

Kovalainen revealed that Lotus engineers initially thought he had struggled in Austin because of a broken wing.

"Only later it became clear that it was a bag stuck in the right front brake duct," he said.  "The aerodynamics were affected really badly."

Kovalainen said he was impressed by the performance of the Lotus. "I'm not surprised that Kimi has had such good results," he said. "You can tell right away that the balance is really good and the package is strong overall."

Stay with Wheels24 for the 2013 Brazilian GP weekend.

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