Heikki Kovalainen - Classic F1
Heikki Kovalainen is the driver picking his five favourite all-time grands prix for the penultimate edition of BBC Sport's 2011 classic Formula 1 series.
The Finn has re-established his reputation with Team Lotus in 2010-11 after two years at McLaren alongside Lewis Hamilton that were, by Kovalainen's own admission, "disappointing in terms of results".
So it is appropriate he has chosen five of his own races, as they remind us that he is a race winner in his own right and not simply one of F1's top drivers.
Kovalainen is trying to re-establish his F1 career at Lotus. Photo: Getty
In chronological order, the 30-year-old talks through his choices, starting with the race that stopped him getting the sack after a shaky start to his debut season with Renault:
"A very difficult weekend. One of the low points of my F1 career. I think Flavio [Briatore, the Renault team boss] was very close to getting rid of me. His patience was running out. I crashed the car on Friday and it didn't look good in the first part of qualifying. I honestly think he would have sacked me after that race if I hadn't come through the field and finished fourth, fighting actually for a podium with [Williams driver] Alex Wurz.
"After that, I finished a strong fifth in Indy, beating Kimi [Raikkonen of Ferrari]. From then on, things started to work in the right direction. I probably didn't realise at the time that it was that much on the line. I just thought: 'It's not working, let's try again tomorrow.' But looking back now I think my career was at stake. Some other people have told me that. Luckily, he [Briatore] gave me some more races and things started to go well.
"In Canada, Robert Kubica had a big accident. I was just exiting the hairpin and I saw the accident to my side and thought: 'That's going to be a safety car.' I was just coming up to a pit stop and I decided to go into the pits myself. I called the team and said: 'There's going to be a safety car.' And they were like: 'No, no, no.' I said: 'Yeah. I'm sure there will be.' And as soon as I left the pits I saw the safety car, so I jumped a lot of people. If I had stayed out I probably wouldn't have been able to finish fourth."
"It was my first podium in F1 and with Renault. It was raining a lot, quite difficult conditions. We started behind the safety car, then [I was] coming through [the field] all the way through the race. I found I was in second place and fighting with Kimi on the last lap. He passed me, I passed him back, and I was able to keep him behind me.
"Of course, it mattered that it was Kimi and a Ferrari. Kimi was at that time one of the big names, one of the guys fighting for the championship. To be able to beat him as a rookie, in a car that wasn't as good as his car, was a great moment.
"Obviously, the circumstances worked out very well for us. The strategy was good and the rain maybe it evened out a bit. It was a tricky race and Kimi was also coming through the field. Maybe a few more laps and he would have got me."
"My first race at McLaren and I came very close to winning it. [Team-mate] Lewis [Hamilton] had done his second pit stop, I was coming up to mine. I had just done the fastest lap of the race and I was catching him.
"He was on full fuel and I had a few extra laps before the end of my stint, so I was actually gaining a couple of seconds a lap on him. The team thought about stopping, but we decided to go to the planned end of my stint. Then the safety car came out.
"I remember being behind the safety car at the head of the queue. Most of the guys behind me had stopped, so I dropped to 10th and eventually fought back to fifth. I overtook Kimi and Fernando [Alonso's Renault]. It was good. But imagine starting your McLaren career with a victory; it would have been quite cool.
"At the time I was annoyed, but what can you do? It was the right choice to stay out to fight for a win. If we had taken the conservative approach and stopped earlier, I would have been second, but we had good pace and going quicker and quicker. It was just unfortunate the safety car came out."
"My first win. I was in a good position all the way through the weekend. After Lewis had a puncture, I was running second all the way through the race. Then at the end I was catching Felipe Massa's Ferrari by two seconds a lap.
"I knew he was in trouble. We were running out of laps. Then I saw his engine go. There are no style points in F1. It was a great moment. I knew now was a good chance to win the race. I had a good cushion behind me to Timo [Glock's Toyota]. I didn't have to push. I was able to ease off a little bit and finish the job. It was nice to win a race.
"It was a good part of the season [for me]. I was on pole at Silverstone and I didn't finish off that race. Hockenheim was a little bit unfortunate - I was in a position to be on the podium and then it didn't work out for me with the safety car. Then to get the victory just before the summer break was great."
"Looking at the performance of the [Lotus] car, I think I got everything out of it. I remember fighting with [Renault's Vitaly] Petrov and some other guys in better cars for quite a long time, knocking on the [door of the] top 10. But then the power steering broke five laps before the end and I had to stop. It was a good race - I was able to build a big gap to the other new teams and join the back of the [midfield] queue."
Kovalainen has chosen Hungary 2008 as his favourite race. The highlights are embedded below, with short and extended highlights of last year's title-deciding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix underneath to whet your appetites for the weekend's action.
The classic races will also be available on digital television in the UK. On Freeview, they will be broadcast between the two free practice sessions on Friday 11 November, from 1035 and 1255 GMT. On satellite and cable, they will be available from 1500 GMT on Wednesday 9 November to 1000 on Thursday 10 November, from 1030-1430 and 1830-2000 on Thursday, and from 1035 -1255 on Friday.