European Grand Prix: so who is going to win? Could it be Grosjean?

At quick call to Prof Brian Cox and an according working understanding of Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle might serve you better than reading this if you are looking for any kind of prediction as to what might happen around the harbour roads of Valencia this afternoon. Feel free to correct us Sunday Afternooners (or indeed James May), but we’re reckoning if Prof Heisenberg was certain he could predict Sebastian Vettel was going to win this afternoon, he’d put his money on Lewis Hamilton. Or something like that. So we’re going with Romain Grosjean, but we’ll come to that.

In Autosport magazine this week, Sky’s Mark Hughes, F1’s very own Professor of Engineering, Tactics and Predictive and Historical Analysis sat down with the results from this year and removed all the ‘uncertainties’.  Professor Hughes concluded that, without grid penalties, strategy and pit-stop screw-ups and so on the seven races this year would have been won by (in order); Jenson Button, Sergio Perez, Lewis Hamilton, Kimi Raikkonen, Hamilton again, Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton again.

So only the first race, Australia, and the last, in Canada, went as they should have done with the fastest car/driver combo across the race distance winning. Andrew Benson of the BBC and a former colleague of Hughes at Autosport crunched the same numbers and came up with; Button, Perez, Button, Vettel, Alonso, Alonso and Hamilton.

It’s an interesting way to spend a rainy morning waiting for things to kick off in Spain. To remind you, this year’s winners have been; Button, Alonso, Rosberg, Vettel, Maldonado, Webber and Hamilton and this afternoon… well, like we said we think Romain Grosjean is well overdue a first place to add to his third and second in what is proving to be an astonishing first proper season in F1.

This was supposed to be the season that was all about the six world champions; the ‘old’ generations of Lewis and Jenson, ‘Nando and the returning Kimi Raikkonen and Michael Schumacher. But when we fire up the Sunday Afternoon telly all we see is a new generation of drivers.

Yesterday afternoon, just moments before the end of Q1, the timesheets were headed by Pastor Maldonado, Grosjean and the Nicos Rosberg and Hulkenberg. We rather liked the look of that. Only Maldonado and Grosjean held on, but of the two it’s Grosjean we’re tipping.

Why? It’s three things. The Lotus E20 has been competitive, if a bit moody, all season. But it loves to race and it loves to race in the sunshine and the warmth. Tick. Then there’s Grosjean’s race in Canada. Quick and fighty but always kind on his tyres and clearly calm-headed and sticking to a strategy, happy as it were to wait for the race to come to him.

Lastly, it’s the simple fact that he can now do this; seven races ago in Australia he looked quick, but out of his depth at the front. He does no longer. His rate of ‘personal growth’ (yeah, we’re sorry for that…) is astonishing and its very momentum will bring results.

All the great drivers do something that makes us pay attention to their careers very early on. Prost’s points in his first race, Senna’s second place at Monaco, Schumacher’s astonishing qualifying in the Jordan at Spa. Grosjean has more than matched any of that. The boy’s a bit special. Enjoy.

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