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.

Steve Torrence takes NHRA points lead with Gatornationals victory

NHRA Gainesville Steve Torrence
Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two-time defending NHRA Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence took the points lead Sunday in the AMALIE Motor Oil Gatornationals, beating his father, Billy, in the final round at Gainesville Raceway.

Torrence had a 3.809-second run at 322.11 mph to win for the third time this year and 39th overall. He is now on track for another championship despite missing the season opener.

“We’ve got some good momentum and to be in the points lead, it’s a testament to how hard these guys work,” Steve Torrence said after the NHRA Gainesville victory. “We’ve just got to stay focused and concentrate on what the task at hand is, and that’s trying to win a championship. These guys give me an unbelievable race car and you just try not to screw it up.”

Ron Capps won in Funny Car, Alex Laughlin in Pro Stock and Matt Smith in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Capps raced to his second win this year and 66th overall, beating Tim Wilkerson with a 3.937 at 323.12 in a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

Laughlin topped Aaron Stanfield with a 7.068 at 204.76 in a Chevrolet Camaro for his first win this season and fourth in his career. Smith rode to his first victory in 2020 and 25th overall, topping Andrew Hines with a 6.843 at 196.99 on an EBR.