Heikki Kovalainen's return to racing did not end the way he intended, or how his qualifying form suggested, after a string of problems left his Lotus back in 14th position.

The Finn, standing in for injured compatriot Kimi Raikkonen, started from eighth on the grid after a stellar effort in his first qualifying run with the E21, but lost ground from the dirty side of the grid and ran just outside the points before swapping his scrubbed set of medium tyres for new hard compound Pirellis in what was supposed to be his only scheduled stop on lap 17.

However, data suggesting that his front wing was not producing the downforce it was supposed to prompted a second stop 14 laps later, with Kovalainen returning to the softer medium tyre as the nose section was changed. The lengthy stop dropped him away from the fringes of the top ten. A points finish may still have been possible as he ran to end of the race, but the performance of the Lotus was subsequently hampered by a KERS issue that the team will investigate before the final round.

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"My start wasn't great, but then it was going okay until the first pit-stop as I was racing with the pack with the car feeling quite good," the Finn reported, "After the pit-stop, I started to have a few problems, but it was difficult to know exactly what was going on.

"We had issues with downforce, so we changed the front wing and, after that, it was much better, although still not as good as it's felt previously this weekend. There was a KERS issue too, though not enough to account for my lack of race pace. We'll have a good look at the data and hopefully be on top of things far better for the race in Brazil."

Team boss Eric Boullier accepted that the problems had been at the root of Kovalainen's result, and confirmed that the Finn would get another chance to potentially stake his claim to a race seat for 2014 at Interlagos this weekend.

"It's disappointing that Heikki couldn't convert his eighth place on the grid to a points finish, but we had issues with his front wing and KERS which we will investigate before Brazil," the Frenchman concluded.