Six out of six – Can Lotus do it?
Five races have yielded five winners, in five different cars. That seems to be the nature of Formula One in 2012 – close competition, with the team that makes best use of the tyres coming out on top. While the racing has been tight and competitive, what is perhaps more exciting is that there is still no dominant team or driver. At this point in 2011, it was clear that Sebastian Vettel was streets ahead of anyone else. No so this season.
The most consistently quick team has yet to win in 2012. Lotus have been competitive at every race so far, but the top step of the podium has eluded them. Kimi Raikkonen’s comeback to Formula One has been thrilling to watch. The 2007 World Champion has clearly lost none of his skill and, if anything, has returned to the top-flight more focused and more driven to win. With two podiums this season, Raikkonen is fourth in the Drivers’ Championship and looking stronger by the race. A win cannot be far away.
Raikkonen’s team-mate, Romain Grosjean, has not yet looked like a race winner. He has had impressive qualifying pace, starting in the top 10 at every race this season, and twice from the second row of the grid. Qualifying well is the first step towards running at the front of the field, and Grosjean has certainly started well in that regard. In the races, Raikkonen seems to have a small edge over his young French team-mate, but that is a matter of experience. As he accumulates more Formula One experience, Grosjean should become a contender for victory.
McLaren, Ferrari, Mercedes, Red Bull and Williams have each topped the podium once this season. Lotus have yet to win, but that is surely just a matter of time. A victory at Monaco this weekend would be a massive boost for the team, and would provide fans with yet more excitement in what is already one of the most exciting Formula One seasons for many years.
Five winners in five races has happened before, most recently in 1983. Six out of six has never happened in Formula One. If it is possible, then 2012 is the year we will find out. The most likely driver to make it happen is Kimi Raikkonen. But, given the unpredictable nature of the season far, who will win at Monaco is anybody’s guess.