Heikki Kovalainen’s Singapore Grand Prix ended in a particularly spectacular fashion, limping his flame-engulfed Lotus onto the main straight before grabbing a fire extinguisher to put out the bonfire on his T127.
The Finn came under criticism for not venturing into the pit lane, but he argued that staying on track was the safest option.
“I think it looked more spectacular than it really was,” he said after the race. “When you get some fluids on the hot exhaust it is always going to catch a big flame, and I was just trying to find a marshal with some extinguisher. I eventually chose to stop in front of the Williams boys and they gave me some extinguishers.
When asked why he had not chosen to go down the pit lane instead, he countered: “I thought it was too big a fire and it was not safe enough to go in the middle of the people, and at the end of the race there might be people celebrating there.
“Then I thought about crossing to the right hand side of the track but I thought it was too high speed a corner to cross the track with such flames. So then I just tried to crawl it around the corner. That is what I was looking for – finding marshals.”
Kovalainen’s spectacular fire was caused by fuel system damage as a result of a late-race collision with Sébastien Buemi.