Happy birthday Heikki!


Today is former Formula One driver Heikki Kovalainen's 34th birthday. He was born on October 19, 1981 in Suomussalmi, Finland and came to Grand Prix racing via spells in Formula Renault, Formula Three and the World Series by Nissan, but it was coming second to Nico Rosberg in the inaugural GP2 Series championship in 2005 that really put him on the radar for Formula One team bosses.

He made his F1 race début in the 2007 Australian Grand Prix for the Renault team and got his first podium later in the year at Japan. He went on to make 111 starts with spells at McLaren, Lotus and Caterham. His final appearances in Formula One were in the final two races of 2013 as a stand-in back at the Lotus F1 Team for his compatriot Kimi Raikkonen, who needed time off for back surgery.

The picture we've chosen is from the day of Heikki's penultimate race, the 2013 United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas on November 17. We can't remember what exactly it is that Kovalainen and his team mate Romain Grosjean (left) are celebrating with that particular hand gesture, but from the look on then-Lotus team principal Eric Boullier's face (centre) it's clear that at least one person in the photo realises that this could be misconstrued in a variety of different ways...