F1 Driver Review: Heikki Kovalainen

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After talking about the big stories and ranking our Top 10 drivers from the 2013 FIA Formula One World Championship season, my colleague Chris Estrada and I are taking a look back on how each of the 23 Formula One drivers who took to the grid fared this past year.

Filling in at Lotus for the final two races of 2013 was veteran driver Heikki Kovalainen…

HEIKKI KOVALAINEN

No. 7 Lotus-Renault (two races)
2013 Stats: 0 Wins, 0 Podiums, 0 Top-5, 0 Top-10s, 0 Laps Led (Best Finish: 14th, United States and Brazil)
Average Start: 9.5
Average Finish: 14.0
DNFs: 4

DiZinno says: Heikki Kovalainen did very well to get into Q3 at Austin in his substitute role for Kimi Raikkonen at Lotus, and had it not been for needing a front wing change he could well have scored points. Brazil was a more difficult weekend by comparison. With only two races to observe, it’s hard to call his 2013 anything other than “incomplete.”

Estrada says: It’s an admittedly small sample of races to judge Kovalainen on, and his first race for Lotus at Austin was marred by front wing and KERS issues. But the season finale at Brazil saw him unable to get on pace. In the end, the team brought him in to bolster its bid for second in the Constructors’ title race and he didn’t get the job done. Whether that will have an impact on him gaining a ride for 2014 remains to be seen.

Takuma Sato’s likeness revealed on Borg-Warner Trophy (PHOTOS)

Photos; Walt Kuhn
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INDIANAPOLIS – Rather than the traditional December unveil, this year’s reveal newest likeness added to the Borg-Warner Trophy came Tuesday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.

Takuma Sato got to see the result of the sculpting done by William Behrends and then turned from wax, clay and ceramic into sterling silver on Tuesday evening, as the winner of the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil saw his face revealed on the trophy.

Sato took the No. 26 Ruoff Home Mortgage Honda for Andretti Autosport to the win in thrilling fashion this year over Helio Castroneves, denying the Brazilian his fourth Indianapolis 500 victory in the process. It atoned for his near-miss in 2012, driving for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, the team he’ll return to in 2018.

It’s been a whirlwind last week-plus for Sato, doing the podium interviews at the Japanese Grand Prix, reflecting on his Indianapolis 500 triumph, then sharing the victory spoils with another Japanese pilot in Yoshihide Muroya, who won the Red Bull Air Race World Championship at Indianapolis this weekend.

Photos of Sato’s face on the most unique trophy in sports are below. This post will be updated following tonight’s full unveil. (All photos: Walt Kuhn)