Published on June 12th, 2012 | by Tony Greene
“If ands and buts were cherries and nuts, we’d all have a different World Championship leader”…or so some semblance of the old saying goes. Just how good is Romain Grosjean? Depending how you look at it, apparently good enough to be leading the World Drivers Championship standings following the first seven rounds of the 2012 F1 season. How did I come up with such a seemingly ludicrous proclamation? Please humor me and step into my alternate universe for a few brief moments.
Over the last six years, Grosjean has won no less than four series titles; the F3 Euro Series in ’07, GP2 Asia in ’08 and ’11 and the main GP2 Series last season. With just fourteen GPs behind him, Grosjean is still essentially a rookie in F1, a rookie that is currently being measured against a former World Champion teammate with eighteen wins from 163 starts. Sure, Kimi Raikkonen sat out the entire 2010 and 2011 seasons, but so did Romain, his first seven races in F1 coming at the expense of Nelson Piquet, Jr’s notoriously failed 2009 campaign. For the Frenchman, 2012 has shown flashes of both brilliance and expected inexperience.
So far this year, Romain has outqualified Kimi five races to two and has made it into the final round of qualifying in all seven GPs to the Finn’s four Q3 appearances. Grosjean has finished just four of the seven races in 2012, but two of those have been podiums, all four have been in the top six positions and, in the two races which he completed and was beaten by his teammate, Romain finished immediately behind Kimi. In the other two GPs in which he finished ahead of Kimi, Romain beat him by eight and six positions respectively. Currently, “Big John” sits in 7th position in the Driver’s standings with 53 points, just two ticks and one spot back of his Lotus teammate in 6th. The only driver ahead of Grosjean who has yet to win a race this year is, in fact, Kimi Raikkonen.
From those four races which Grosjean has gone the distance, his average finishing position has been 3.7 at the end of the race. Round that up and then suppose, just suppose for a moment, that he had finished those other three races in 4th spot. The extra points would give Grosjean 89 to current leader Lewis Hamilton’s 88. Of course, the responsibility for the three races in which he failed to finish could probably be placed squarely on Romain’s own shoulders. And, of course, we could spend the rest of our lives speculating on the what-could-have-beens and what-ifs of Formula One. But, hey, what else are you going to do on a non-race week Tuesday afternoon?
Could Romain Grosjean sneak in a win for Lotus before his vastly more experienced teammate? Could the Frenchman be the pilot to make it eight for eight in 2012?
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Tony Greene I like that Formula 1 stuff!