Heikki Kovalainen would do it all again for Team Lotus

Heikki Kovalainen would have happily got straight back into his Lotus and done it all again after Norfolk's Formula One outfit produced more signs of encouragement in Korea.

Having declared the lead-lap finishes in Japan seven days earlier as their strongest race since arriving on the grid last year, Hingham's Team Lotus saw Kovalainen put in a lap he called one of his best ever in qualifying around Yeongam – and then match the pace of the midfield teams as he came home ahead of Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Perez in their Saubers to finish 14th.

'After the fantastic performance in Japan this is another big step forward for us – finishing ahead of both Saubers and within touching distance of (Bruno) Senna on the final lap is for sure our strongest ever race and it's a great feeling for me and the whole team to see us fighting with a big group of cars right from the very first lap,' said the Finn.

'It's great for the whole team that we're heading towards the end of the season with a car that is giving us a chance to really show what we can do.

'Honestly, I'd like to get straight back in now and do it all over again – I can't wait for India.'

Norwich-born chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne added: 'I know we said that last week in Japan was our strongest ever race but we have managed to improve once again and to beat both Saubers and match the pace of a group of teams ahead is very satisfying indeed.

'We are having a very strong end to the season and now we need to make sure we continue this run in the last three races.'

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After an encouraging showing of their own in Japan, Group Lotus-backed Renault had a tough time of it again, as Senna only just held off Kovalainen's charge and Vitaly Petrov careered into Michael Schumacher's Mercedes – putting both cars out of the race.

'I apologise to Michael, it was not his fault, it was absolutely my fault – once my wheels were locked there was nothing I could do about it; but that's racing and tomorrow is another day,' said the Russian.

With three rounds remaining, Formula One turns to the first Indian Grand Prix in New Delhi at the end of the month.

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