Jul.7 (GMM/Inautonews.com) Romain Grosjean, the always-grinning Lotus driver, tried hard to hide his delight at shining the way to a former world champion so far in 2012.

Run out of the sport after a disastrous start amid Renault’s ‘crashgate’ scandal in 2009, the Frenchman was given a second chance with a new GP2 title in his pocket and the trust of Lotus team boss and manager Eric Boullier.

“Only a few drivers get a second chance at formula one,” veteran journalist Mike Doodson told Grosjean this week, “but you did.”

Not only that, many are tipping the Swiss-born 26-year-old as probably F1’s eighth different winner of 2012, even though his teammate is the 2007 title winner, Kimi Raikkonen.

Asked by the Telegraph’s Tom Cary if he is surprised to have matched the hailed Finn this season, Grosjean answered: “I think the surprise was the car.”

Cary dutifully tried the Raikkonen question again.

“I’m pretty surprised with the way the season is going,” Grosjean smiled. “If you had told me in January that I would have two podiums I would have signed straight away.”

For a third consecutive time, journalist Cary pressed the point about Raikkonen — that Grosjean has emerged from the apparent death of an F1 career to now arguably lead the way to a hugely-respected winner of 18 grands prix.

“Kimi didn’t take long to come back to his level,” Grosjean responded.

“And yes I’m happy with the way the season is going. I expected to have less experience and in a few conditions to be less good.

“But I’m trying to get the best of his experience in every situation and then use it.”