He will begin the 2009 season with the reigning world champion as his teammate, but Heikki Kovalainen insists he does not feel beaten already.

He will begin the 2009 season with the reigning world champion as his teammate, but Heikki Kovalainen insists he does not feel beaten already.

"Yes, it could be easier, but it doesn't bother me in the least," he answered, when asked how it will feel to line up on the 2009 grid wearing the number '2'.

Finn Kovalainen, 27, has been retained by McLaren for a second season next year alongside Lewis Hamilton.

To the Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat, he said the situation even gives him an incentive.

"I could say it works the other way -- if I can beat my teammate, I know I must be quick and doing something right," said Kovalainen.

However, he had a difficult 2008 season after switching from Renault, and is disappointed with the outcome.

"Finishing seventh in the drivers' championship table is really not a good enough performance in a car of that quality," he admitted.

"When it comes down to it, my position was the same as I achieved a year earlier in a noticeably less competitive car."

 

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