They say in Formula 1 that the first person you need to beat is your team-mate and in the last few races, Heikki Kovalainen has been doing just that.

Returning from a three-week summer break, Kovalainen goes to Turkey on a solid run of form that has seen him score in all but one of the last six races, scoring a total of 13 points in those events compared to team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella's four.

It all combines to put the Finn just a single point behind the Italian, making the Turkish Grand Prix more significant for Renault than they would lead you to believe. Indeed, if rumours prove true that either Fernando Alonso or Nelson Piquet could occupy at least one of the Renault race seats next year, this weekend could prove pivotal as to who will be forced to vacate at the end of the year.

Nonetheless, while Kovalainen is poised to establish himself as the Renault 'number one' should he maintains that good form, the former Renault test driver is merely looking forward to racing an F1 car at one of his favourite venues for the first time.

"I actually drove an F1 car here last year when we did a demonstration run as part of the World Series by Renault race weekend, so I have some idea of how the circuit feels in an F1 car. It is a very tough circuit and I must say, one of my favourites. Everything has been really well thought-out, they did a fantastic job to bring F1 to Turkey and the atmosphere is always special, because the Turkish fans seem to really enjoy the race weekend. I can't wait to race in Istanbul."

Despite the time off, Kovalainen admits he is itching to get back into the cockpit and re-focus ahead of the final third of the championship.

"It was nice to have a short break, but I think it was most important for the race and test teams to have a break, especially after the difficult start to the season that we experienced.

"On my side, I went back to Finland to see my friends and family, and to do some training ahead of the next races - and so I am ready for 58 laps through turn 8! It is always good to have some time off, but it has only made me more impatient to get back in the car. I can't wait to start driving again."

 

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