Heikki Kovalainen - Early Career - GP2 Series (2005)

GP2 Series (2005)

In 2005, Kovalainen entered the GP2 Series, the new 'feeder' series for F1 and the successor to Formula 3000. Driving for the Arden International team, Kovalainen began the season with strong results by winning the first round of the championship in Imola and then finishing third in the sprint race. In Barcelona he scored his third consecutive podium, but in the sprint race his car stalled on the grid. He dominated the race in Monaco by claiming pole position, leading the race for the first 21 laps and clocking the fastest lap of the race. Problems during his pitstop, however, dropped him down to fifth. At the Nürburgring he gave his best performance yet, by winning the race from 17th on the grid. In the sprint race José María López caused a collision which forced Kovalainen to retire. At Magny-Cours he won again from fourth on the grid, and came third in the sprint race.

At this point in the season, however, a resurgent Nico Rosberg with his ART Grand Prix team seemed to find more speed and began scoring victories, emerging as Kovalainen's main rival for the championship. Kovalainen and Arden fought back, scoring podiums and points positions in Silverstone, Hockenheim and Hungaroring, but were unable to find the necessary speed to beat Rosberg. In Istanbul's feature race Kovalainen finished tenth due to engine problems, but in the sprint race held in wet conditions he returned to his winning ways. At Monza Arden were fast again, and Kovalainen snatched his second pole of the season and won the feature race. In the sprint race he could only manage fifth position, however, and this meant that with four races left in the season, Kovalainen was leading Rosberg by only four points.

After a chaotic weekend at Spa affected by rain and Safety Cars, Rosberg took the lead from Kovalainen. In the final two rounds in Bahrain, Rosberg and ART seemed to be unmatched again, and he secured the championship by winning the feature race with Kovalainen finishing third. Retiring from the last sprint race, Kovalainen finished runner-up in the series, 15 points adrift.

Read more about this topic:  Heikki Kovalainen, Early Career

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