Grand Prix Betting: Can Lotus do it again?
Raikkonen's team-mate Romain Grosjean is on his second bite of the F1 cherry
Lotus has amassed five winners so far in this Forumla 1 season,and James Frankland ponders whether the sixth Grand Prix of the year might come off for them at Monaco.
McLaren, Ferrari, Mercedes, Red Bull and Williams have all had drivers on the top step this year, and as attention shifts towards the Monaco Grand Prix the question is, who can make it six from six?
Only once in F1 history has a similar instance occurred, way back in 1983 when Brabham's Nelson Piquet won the championship by two points from Alain Prost, driving for Renault. Piquet took victory in the first race in Brazil, followed by McLaren's John Watson at Long Beach. Prost was victorious on home soil at Paul Ricard, then Patrick Tambay won for Ferrari in San Marino with Williams' Keke Rosberg completing the quintet by taking the chequered flag in Monaco.
Switching back to 2012 and it is the modern-day incarnation of the Lotus team who are best-placed to continue the run of different car/driver combinations winning a Grand Prix. Here's a quick overview of the men behind the wheel and their prospects of taking victory in Monaco.
Kimi Raikkonen will need no introduction to Formula One fans. The Iceman burst onto the scene as a fresh-faced, 21-year old with the Sauber team, and proved his class by scoring a point on his debut in Melbourne. A strong debut year convinced McLaren to sign him up, replacing compatriot Mika Hakkinen. Kimi spent five years with McLaren, winning nine races and mounting a championship challenge in 2005, where he finished behind Fernando Alonso. A switch to Ferrari yielded a memorable winning campaign in 2007, where he pipped Alonso and rookie Lewis Hamilton to the title by one point. Six wins in that debut campaign were followed by only three in the next two years as Ferrari's competitiveness dipped, and he was replaced for 2010 by Alonso, taking up rallying instead. Two years of indifferent results saw Raikkonen make an F1 comeback with Lotus, and Kimi has demonstrated that he's lost none of his pace by recording two podium finishes in five races.
Raikkonen's team-mate Romain Grosjean is on his second bite of the F1 cherry, having debuted in 2009 for Renault after Nelson Piquet Jr was sacked. With limited experience of the car prior to racing Grosjean found it hard to match teammate Alonso and recorded a best qualifying of 12th, while 13th place in Brazil was his highest race finish. Dropped by Renault for 2010, a mixed year saw Grosjean competing in sportcars, Auto GP and GP2 for four races, before returning to the series full-time in 2011 with the French DAMS team. Showing much-improved racecraft, Grosjean dominated the season, winning five races and taking the title 35 points clear of his nearest challenger. His rejuvenated performances prompted Lotus boss Eric Bouillier to sign up the Frenchman for the 2012 campaign, and with the strong E20 chassis under him Grosjean has shown a prodigious turn of pace, qualifying in the top ten at every race and scoring points from China onwards, including a first F1 podium with third place in Bahrain.
Both Lotus drivers have won at Monaco in the past. Raikkonen won for McLaren in 2005, whilst also recording podium finishes in 2003 and 2009. Grosjean hasn't competed in the Monaco Grand Prix in a Formula One car but was victorious in the 2009 GP2 feature race, and also took a third place in the sprint race during his 2011 title-winning GP2 campaign. These are significant because Monaco is the most unforgiving of tracks, requiring a blend of speed, aggression, accuracy and patience unmatched anywhere else on the calendar. Both men have demonstrated their abilities here in the past and so, with a good qualifying performance, can easily be considered among the potential victors in Monte Carlo.
Betfair Bets to Consider
Back Kimi Raikkonen @ Betfair odds of 7.8 to win the Monaco Grand Prix
Back Kimi Raikkonen @16.5 to take pole and victory at the Monaco Grand Prix
Back Romain Grosjean @16.0 to win the Monaco Grand Prix
Back Romain Grosjean @3.0 to finish on the podium at the Monaco Grand Prix