Renault rookie Heikki Kovalainen in Montreal hit out at the media for “misunderstanding” his recent comments about the French squad’s test driver Nelson Piquet Junior.
The Finn had been asked which famous racer he most admired — 1992 title winner Nigel Mansell or triple world champion Nelson Piquet, who is Piquet Jr’s father.
25-year-old Kovalainen answered: “I don’t really like Piquet Junior so much, so maybe Mansell.”
In the paddock of Canada’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, however, Heikki denied journalists’ claims that the comments had given an “insight” into his possibly thorny relationship with his Brazilian team colleague.
“I was asked a question and I wanted to make a jokey reply and it was taken literally,” Kovalainen marvelled on Thursday.
He added: “Nelson and I talked about it today and we had a laugh. Everything’s okay; it was just a misunderstanding on the part of a few journalists.”
Fellow Finn Kimi Raikkonen, meanwhile, was asked about Kovalainen’s struggle at Renault so far in 2007.
The Ferrari driver said: “He has had a difficult start to his career.
“With the car that they have now, after winning the last two championships, it is surely not easy for him.”