Heikki Kovalainen, 28
Lotus Racing Team
He’s blonde and blue-eyed but make no mistake – Heikki Kovalainen is no airhead. He’s undoubtedly one of the nicest guys around, and also has the honour of being the 100th driver to win a Formula One Grand Prix.
Not only that, Heikki became the Champion of Champions in 2004, beating out fellow F1 drivers David Coulthard, Jean Alesi, Michael Schumacher and even World Rally Champion Sebastien Loeb to clinch the title.
On the F1 scene though, his most notable win came with McLaren Mercedes, where he drove alongside Lewis Hamilton from 2008 – 2009, having taken over from Fernando Alonso. Now, he’s with a fresh new team, Lotus Racing, and plans to bring it to the front of the grid.
I’ve heard that you’ve always wanted to get a tattoo – have you finally gotten one? If you have – where is it and what is it of? If you haven’t – why not?
I’ve thought about it sometimes, but it’s not something I have at the moment. I’m a bit rock n roll, so maybe one day, who knows!
How do you feel your season is going so far?
It’s been pretty successful so far. We started from zero and the progress we’ve made already has been very encouraging. We’re focused on finishing tenth this year, and working on the car for next year, so it’s about where we want to be.
How do you hope to do at the Singapore Grand Prix?
We should be ok – we’ll aim to get two cars across the line at the end ahead of the other new guys, and if we do that we’ve achieved our goals. Any more than that is a bonus at this stage, so let’s see.
Off the track, how do you prepare for a race?
I train hard, as much as possible, to stay in shape for the races. I like to spend time away from racing with my family and friends, and I like to play golf, to completely step away from work and get outside doing a sport I love.
You had quite a bad accident in 2008 at the Spanish Grand Prix – is it difficult coming back to the track after an accident like that?
It’s not difficult, and when it starts becoming difficult you lose speed and you know you shouldn’t be racing. I have no problems at all at the track, and when I got back in the car it was fine, and when I got back to the track I just got on with it. You have to do this. Racing sometimes involves crashes – you try to make sure you don’t have them, but you just have to deal with it and move on.
What went through your mind when you stepped back into the car?
Nothing really. I just focused on doing what I needed to do and not dwelling on it – it’s not a big deal.
Tell us a little something about yourself that people might not know.
I’m a big fan of rock music and play the drums. I played with a band I like recently, Nightwish, in their studio, and it was pretty good.