For my money, the nicest story from Monaco weekend

I’m not seeing this get much play, so I just want to make sure F1B has got on the record that, for all the jokes (“What’s the deal with Heikki,” etc.), Heikki Kovalainen is a class act.

You may have heard that during the festivities around the Monaco Grand Prix, Elton John held a fundraiser for an AIDS charity. As best as I can pull the timing together, the last item was basically “if someone will pledge 300,000 euros, Elton will match it” and the money would go toward a project in Cambodia.

Now, keep in mind that probably this was a B or B+ level gathering. Actress Elizabeth Hurley and former tennis champ Boris Becker were among those there.

But no one piped up. Then, as related by the Speed TV guys during the race and less dramatically summed up by Reuters, a little hand went up, and I can only assume it was followed by a cute little voice.

Both belonged to Heikki Kovalainen.

Now, we all know that while Heikki isn’t on the way to the poor house, he isn’t making Jenson Button/Fernando Alonso/Kimi Raikkonen (circa 2009) money. I’d think 300,000 Eurors have to hurt a little, whereas last year that might have been about a tenth of a race’s earnings for Kimi.

So BIG PROPS to Heikki for coming through when others didn’t.

Via Reuters, he had this to say:

“It is my money but Tony pays my salary,” said Kovalainen. “I have been looking to do something for a long time. This is a good cause.”

The sum will cover half the budget of a project to provide 320 permanent homes for 1,760 people living with AIDS/HIV in the country.

Too bad he didn’t have a more successful race on Sunday.

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