Kovalainen made bid to replace Bottas

Jan.18 (GMM) Former F1 driver Heikki Kovalainen has admitted he made a bid to replace the Mercedes-bound Valtteri Bottas at Williams for 2017.

Amid strong speculation that Bottas would leave the British team, Kovalainen said he recently offered his services to replace his fellow Finn at Williams.

“Yes, I sent Claire (Williams) an email,” the 35-year-old, who also drove for Renault and Caterham, told the Finnish broadcaster MTV.

“But they had other plans. Probably many other drivers had sent the same message,” added 2008 Hungarian GP winner Kovalainen, who won the Japanese category Super GT in 2016.

Kovalainen said he is now happy with his GT career in Japan.

But he said he will watch the progress of his countryman Valtteri Bottas with interest this year, as the younger Finn replaces reigning world champion Nico Rosberg at Mercedes.

Bottas’ teammate is Lewis Hamilton, who was paired at McLaren with Kovalainen in 2008 and 2009.

“I’m not going to predict how Valtteri will go, but he is a very good driver,” Kovalainen told Ilta Sanomat newspaper.

“Valtteri has sufficient ability to be at the top. I also believe the cooperation between Valtteri and Lewis will go well. Both are professional drivers,” he said.

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