By Jem Ruggera
When Lotus, When?
Oh Lotus. It's like you're playing with us. Tantalising us with these glimpses of pace, tempting us with the possibility that with the right strategy you can convert the inherent speed of the E20 into the race win we've been talking about since the start of the season.
At the Hungarian Grand Prix, Romain Grosjean was in scintillating form on Saturday afternoon. He completed the first lap in the same position that he started, which, for the Frenchman, was a pretty good effort, especially considering he was starting on the dusty side of the track. He had a few leery moments during the race, particularly accelerating out of the chicane, but he generally tracked winner Lewis Hamilton throughout the race.
The truly exciting one to watch was, of course, Kimi Raikkonen. His qualifying position of fifth was still a little disappointing, and one suspects that if he'd just qualified a little higher... No, let's not go there. His pace in the second stint was phenomenal, and it was around this time Kimi played himself into the battle for the lead. Exiting the pits after his second and final stop, the two Lotuses were side-by-side into Turn 1. Raikkonen had the inside line, and hung Grosjean out to dry. No team orders at Lotus then...
Raikkonen quickly hunted
down, and with fifteen laps to go he was within DRS range. From there however,
he never really managed to get himself into a position to make a run, and he
duly followed Lewis over the line. Hamilton
A 2-3 finish for Lotus moves them to within a point of second-placed McLaren, and Kimi is now just six points behind second-placed Mark Webber in the drivers standings. There were rumours of Ferrari being interested in Kimi Raikkonen for 2013, but considering they paid close to $25 million just a few years ago for him not to drive for them, it all seems rather unlikely.
When Lotus team principal Eric Boullier was asked if he expected to keep both Kimi Raikkonen and team-mate Romain Grosjean next year, he said: "Definitely. There is no reason for them to leave." He has a point. The E20 is fundamentally a strong car, a car that is thick in the fight for second in the championship. Kimi is driving as well as he ever he has, and Romain Grosjean is truly the comeback king of 2012. Wins, and championships, beckon.