Heikki Kovalainen

Heikki Kovalainen

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Heikki Kovalainen

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Heikki Johannes Kovalainen (born October 19, 1981 in Suomussalmi, Finland) is a Finnish Formula One racing driver who spent the 2008 and 2009 seasons with British based team Vodafone McLaren Mercedes and the 2010 and 2011 seasons with the Lotus Racing team.

He was supported by the Renault Driver Development programme early in his racing career, during which he won the World Series by Nissan championship and finished runner-up in the GP2 series. Renault signed him on as a full-time Formula One test driver for , and then promoted him to a race seat for . He gained his first podium by finishing second in the Japanese Grand Prix.

He moved to McLaren for the season, where he partnered Lewis Hamilton. His second season saw him achieve his first pole position at Silverstone and his first victory at Hungaroring, becoming the 100th driver to win a Formula One Grand Prix. He remained with the team for the season. In , he moved to Lotus Racing.

Early career

Karting (1991–2000)

Kovalainen's career began in kart racing, much like that of many other Formula One drivers. He competed in karting from 1991 to 2000, during which time he finished runner-up in the Finnish Formula A championship in 1999 and 2000. In 2000 he won the Nordic championship and the Paris-Bercy Elf Masters event, as well as finished third in the World Formula Super A Championship, leading him to be elected as the Finnish Kart Driver of the Year.

Formula Renault (2001)

Kovalainen began his car racing career in...
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