Kovalainen diced with Renault, Sauber, Force India and Williams drivers before retiring.
|Heikki Kovalainen||Jarno Trulli|
|Qualifying time comparison (Q1)||1’24.362 (-0.172)||1’24.534|
Lotus drivers’ lap times throughout the race (in seconds):
Only three-tenths of a second off Sebastien Buemi in qualifying – but that was largely down to the Toro Rosso driver not using super-soft tyres in Q1.
Kovalainen stayed 18th at the start but moved past Nick Heidfeld and Timo Glock on lap two in a move unseen by the cameras.
He gained another place thanks to Pastor Maldonado’s drive-through penalty, but lost the place and another to Sutil before coming into the pits for the second time on lap 24.
Kovalainen escaped a penalty for an unsafe release from the pits after being investigated. On lap 27 Sergio Perez overtook him under yellow flags at turn one, for which the Sauber driver received a drive-through penalty.
But by the time he served it six laps later Perez was far enough ahead to come out of the pits in front of Kovalainen.
With Heidfeld’s car smouldering in the pits, Kovalainen’s race with the midfield runners was now over. His race went awry when he pitted for intermediates on lap 49. But it mattered little as a water leak ended his race six laps later.
Still, he was encouraged by the car’s performace: “Having seen how close we were in race pace to the midfield I’m not disappointed – it’s just another step in the growth of the team and we’ll pick up where we left off in Belgium in a few weeks time.”
Back in the car after Karun Chandhok’s one-off appearance. Trulli proclaimed himself “very happy” with the changes Lotus made to the car’s steering for this weekend.
Even so Kovalainen held the upper hand for the tenth time in 11 races in qualifying, edging Trulli by just over a tenth of a second.
Trulli lost two places at the start and ran 21st before passing Timo Glock. But he too was struck down by a water leak not long after his first pit stop.
2011 Hungarian Grand Prix
Image © Team Lotus