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Kimi can be champion - Grosjean

ESPN Staff
September 30, 2012 « Vettel's unfinished business | Hamilton right to move, say former stars »
Romain Grosjean must now back up team-mate Kimi Raikkonen © Sutton Images

Lotus driver Romain Grosjean believes team-mate Kimi Raikkonen still has a very good chance of winning his second world drivers' title this season.

Raikkonen lies third in the title battle, 45 points behind leader Fernando Alonso despite not yet winning a race. And Grosjean, whose season has been punctuated by a number of opening lap incidents, is now in a position to help his team-mate should he be required to do so.

"We were very evenly matched on pace but he is fighting to be World Champion, and has a very good chance of achieving that," said Grosjean. "He is still a very, very good driver. Of course I wasn't going to make it difficult for him as he is nearer the front of the championship than me."

The Frenchman is a relative novice to the challenging Suzuka circuit having only raced there once before but is confident that the team can have a successful weekend if they dial in the right set up.

"What a circuit! If we have a good base line set up then we can really enjoy the track. It's an amazing circuit. I've only raced there once but I loved it so I'm really looking forward to going back. It's difficult to pick one part of the circuit as your favourite. The first sector is brilliant, with turn one, turn three, four and five - it's crazy! Then you go right under the bridge, then a small hairpin, and next up is the 'Spoon corner' which is a nightmare for the drivers. Then you're flat out, DRS wide open, before the last chicane. A brilliant circuit.

"Also, I think it's important to say the fans are absolutely amazing in Japan, and the atmosphere around the track is very special. I love Japanese cuisine, especially sushi, and when I cook at home I often try to put some spices in my dishes that are from Japan.

"There are many challenges over the weekend. We have to get the setup working perfectly as Suzuka is so demanding and exposes any weakness in the car. You have to complete all the sessions without making any mistakes because the run-offs are small and it's easy to damage the car if you run wide or get a corner wrong. You need to get on top of the tyres as Suzuka never stops in its demands on them. I think it is a place where you need just a little luck. I hope we have some of that in Japan and everything comes together."