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Formula One drivers thrilled by Moscow reception 23 Jul 2009

McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen, Moscow City Racing event, Moscow, Russia, 19th July 2009. © Moscow City Racing Williams' Kazuki Nakajima, Moscow City Racing event, Moscow, Russia, 19th July 2009. © Williams Red Bull's David Coulthard,  Moscow City Racing event, Moscow, Russia, 19th July 2009. © Red Bull Red Bull's David Coulthard,  Moscow City Racing event, Moscow, Russia, 19th July 2009. © Red Bull

Formula One drivers are a jet-setting bunch at the best of times, but this week a couple of them have been especially busy clocking up the air miles, after taking part in a street demonstration in Russia before heading to Hungary for this weekend’s race. McLaren’s Heikki Kovalainen and Williams’ Kazuki Nakajima were both in action at the annual Moscow City Racing event on Sunday.

Kovalainen and Nakajima made several runs of the 4.5-kilometre temporary street circuit, which took in several of the Russian capital’s iconic landmarks including the Kremlin, Red Square and St Basil’s cathedral. With a crowd of approximately 200,000 watching the action, both drivers were blown away by the experience.

"This was my first time visiting Russia,” said Kovalainen, who completed so many donuts and burnouts during his runs that, by the end of the display, his tyres were even worn down to the canvas.

“I couldn't believe how many people came along to see Sunday's demonstration - the crowds were huge, packed deeply around the whole circuit and loving every minute of the performance. The MP4-23 is an old friend to everyone in our team, and it was fantastic to get behind the wheel and just have some fun."

Nakajima, who covered seven laps of the track, was equally enthusiastic, saying: “It was a really great experience to be in Moscow, and fantastic to see that lots of people came to watch us. I think that shows a lot of potential for a future Grand Prix to be hosted by Russia. I want to thank everyone who made this event possible, it’s definitely something I’ll never forget.”

Also in action at the event was former Red Bull driver, and current TV Formula One pundit, David Coulthard. “I really love this city,” said the Scot. “I’ve been here several times, but I’m always surprised at how quick this city grows up and changes. Driving a Formula One car in the centre of Moscow is unforgettable. I jumped at the chance when I was asked.”