Heikki tackles 150mph bonfire: in pics

Well, that was a weird end to the Singapore grand prix. While Alonso and Vettel scrapped over the last few laps, and Webber held on by the threads of his (rapidly disintegrating) tyres, Heikki Kovalainen became a 150mph bonfire.

After a nudge from a Toro Rosso, Heikki’s fuel system went into meltdown, at first spitting flames, then spewing them into the night sky like a rocket. With the blaze in his mirrors, you’d forgive the Finn for pulling over immediately and legging it.

But as he passed the pitlane, he chose not to enter. Too many people down there, he reckoned. If his car exploded, he’d wipe out a whole population of mechanics and engineers and quite possibly some pretty grid girls, too.

While some commentators yelled abuse – “he thinks he can continue, idiot!” – the Finn went searching for a fire marshal, risking a burnt bum in the process. Once off the racing line, he stopped, was passed an extinguisher and took care of the inferno all by himself.

Who says modern F1 drivers don’t have balls?

Thank heavens it didn’t happen a few weeks ago in Germany, where I was in charge of Lotus extinguishment. You can read my blogs here, and get the full story about life on the pit crew in the latest issue of TopGear magazine, on sale now.

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