Kovalainen: I’ve done everything to step into Kimi’s shoes, I’ve even worn his underwear 17 November, 2013 Heikki Kovalainen in Kimi Raikkonen’s Lotus cockpit Heikki Kovalainen was not worried about stepping into the absent Kimi Raikkonen’s shoes – or his underwear for that matter – at the United States Grand Prix on Saturday. Lotus’s Finnish stand-in, replacing Raikkonen at short notice after the 2007 World Champion pulled out of the last two races to have back surgery, qualified an impressive eighth for his first race since 2012. “I’ve done everything I can to step into his shoes for this weekend and I’ve even worn his fireproof underwear. I hope it was washed,” Kovalainen joked with the team website. It is the first time since he was at McLaren in 2009 that he has made the top 10 and his next task is to score points again. Heikki Kovalainen during qualifying at COTA Kovalainen, who arrived too late for a news conference he was scheduled to appear in at the Circuit of the Americas on Thursday, said he had been given a ‘smooth landing’ at the team he last drove for when they were still known as Renault. “Obviously they like working with a Finnish driver,” he said. “I haven’t spoken to Kimi as he’s busy recovering from his operation, and knowing Kimi he might wind me up with some bullsh*t about the car.” (Reuters) Subbed by AJN. Related NewsBarrichello says he nearly replaced Raikkonen for final two racesBriatore: US GP showed that Lotus made very bad choice with KovalainenGrosjean rises to occasion and seizes role of Lotus team leaderGrosjean: I’m very proud to represent Lotus and my guys that are working in EnstoneLotus: It’s been another positive weekend for the teamDubai Expo 2020 bid logo featured on Lotus in AustinLotus: Our long run pace looks good and we’re feeling quite confidentLotus: Kovalainen’s done a brilliant job, particularly getting used to driving a new carLotus: We were happy with the pace from both drivers, particularly on the long runsValsecchi: It’s a huge blow to lose out to Kovalainen who is not a great champion Chrill After Saturday with quali, it looks as though Lotus did the right thing. Heikki is not a world champion, he never will be, but he is a team player and he can hopefully deliver a decent points haul. If he can treat the Lotus nicely on long runs, he can definitely finish top 5. Fritzo Heikki give me reason to watch F1 again. He will break the record for biggest gap between points finishes. McLarenfan Heikki give it all you have and show those who doubted your ability were to get off. Hugo He has been seriously impressive so far. Boycottthebull Good Job.