King fights fiercely for points at Silverstone
Date: 18 / 07 / 2017
Jordan King displayed a defensive masterclass at Silverstone this past weekend as he fought tirelessly to secure points in the feature race before contact in the second race brought an early end to his hopes of a podium in his home race.
The sixth round of the 2017 FIA Formula Two season marked a trip back to British soil for Jordan as the F2 paddock moved onto Silverstone. In complete contrast to Austria’s short, tight and undulating makeup the previous week, the Northamptonshire former airbase is long, fast and flat – forcing the drivers to concentrate on every corner of every lap.
The weekend’s first action at Silverstone got underway on Thursday with practice and the session took place under overcast and cool conditions. With moisture in the air, all the field headed straight onto the circuit to record some times in case the threatened rain arrived. Jordan completed 19 laps in the first session at Silverstone and his best time of 1:41.329 put him in 7th place.
Qualifying got underway in similar conditions on the Friday and with a little rain having fell earlier in the day, the drivers were taking no chances and were immediately onto the track to get their banker laps in. Jordan was the first to set a competitive lap time but was knocked off the top spot by Charles Leclerc.
As the session elapsed, Jordan’s time of 1:38.988 was just 0.561 off the pole sitter Charles Leclerc and gave Jordan a 4th place start in front of his home fans in the feature race.
Jordan commented on his joint-best qualifying of the season.
“Qualifying was good, one of my best of the season. I felt like I got everything out of the car that it had to give and it leaves me in a good position to attack for a podium in the feature race.
When the lights went out for the start of Silverstone’s feature race, Jordan got off the line well as the front four all made good starts and pulled away from the rest of the field. As Oliver Rowland lost his second place to Norman Nato off the line, Jordan followed Rowland tight on his tail through the first corners.
Getting a good run out of Arena, Jordan was hot on the tail of Rowland and in his slipstream heading down the Wellington Straight but was not close enough to pull a move off into Brooklands.
Keeping with the front runners, Jordan stayed within a second of Rowland for the opening laps and at the end of lap five, was just half a second behind his fellow Brit. This close racing began to allow the pack behind to start catching and Jordan’s original gap began to shrink.
Hoping to get a move done before he came under pressure from behind, Jordan took another jab at Rowland into Brooklands but didn’t have the momentum to make the move stick. Now with Nobuharu Matsushita behind him on the fresher hard compound tyre, Jordan fought to get the last life out of his tyres before following Rowland into the pits for a change of tyres.
Rejoining the action in 15th place and still hot on the tail of Rowland, there was a tight group of four cars running together from Norman Nato down to Artem Markelov, with Jordan in the middle. After the tyre change to the hard compound, it was apparent Jordan couldn’t match the pace of the cars in front and his attention switched to his mirrors to fend off the attack from Markelov.
On lap 13, Markelov was closer than ever and Jordan’s speed deficit through the high-speed corners left him vulnerable to the Russian. Markelov got a good run out of Luffield and was right on the back of Jordan as the pair went down the old pit straight. As Markelov got better traction out of chapel, Jordan was fixated in his mirrors as he fended off the challenge from Markelov down the hanger straight.
Markelov dived to the inside at Stowe, leaving Jordan on the outside. Jordan, not backing down, kept his foot planted to the floor and stayed wheel to wheel with Markelov as the pair entered Vale. Now on the inside for Vale, Jordan had the inside line and managed to keep Markelov just behind him as the Russian almost ran into the back of Jordan as the pair crossed the line for the 14th lap.
Coming under pressure from Markelov into Brooklands, Jordan kept the Russian behind him but knew that it was the second half of the lap where he would need to be on top of his game. Again, struggling for grip through Maggots and Becketts, Markelov again got a solid run out Chapel and with the assistance of DRS got past Jordan.
Dropping off the back of Markelov, the pack who had patiently been waiting behind their scrap began to pressure Jordan. On lap 22 and after all the pit stops were complete, Jordan was in 5th place but coming under pressure from Sergio Canamasas who had DRS down the Wellington Straight and dived down the inside of Jordan into Brooklands.
Again, not giving his position up without a fight, Jordan kept his foot to the floor round the outside at Brooklands and had the inside line for Luffield. Canamasas also kept fighting and stayed on the outside and, with all of his four wheels off the track, made his way past Jordan – a move the Brit was not happy with as he came on the radio complaining of Canamasas exceeding track limits.
As Jordan struggled for pace on the hard tyre, Luca Ghiotto was next to be on Jordan’s tail and another challenge for Jordan as the Russian Time cars’ pace was clear to see. With only five laps remaining, Jordan again struggled through Maggots and Becketts, allowing Ghiotto to close the gap but not close enough to launch an attack.
Ghiotto was closer than ever however as the pair made it through Arena and Ghiotto pressed Jordan into Brooklands. Jordan, taking to the inside, forced Ghiotto off the racing line in an attempt to compromise his exit. Ghiotto, however, had so much more traction out of Luffield and Jordan had to go defensive into Copse. Through Maggots and Becketts, Ghiotto was closer than he had been all race and got a good run on Jordan down the hanger straight with the assist of DRS.
Heading into Stowe, Jordan took to the inside and the quicker moving Ghiotto went to the outside and looked like he had the momentum to demote Jordan to 7th. Jordan, however, placed his MP Motorsport car perfectly on the outside and forced Ghiotto to tuck in behind.
A fantastic piece of defensive driving from Jordan that had co-commentator, Davide Valsecchi, describing it as the “best defensive move” he had ever seen.
Jordan resistance couldn’t last much longer and Ghiotto eventually made his way past Jordan into Arena. Now in 7th place, Jordan used the little life in tyres to extend a gap to Nicholas Latifi who had patiently waited for his chance to join the fight.
Crossing the line in 7th place, Jordan displayed a defensive masterclass and again picked up points in a feature race, as well as securing a reverse grid front row start for Sunday’s sprint race.
Jordan reflected on a crazy race.
“That was a tough race, really tough! The first stint the car felt really quick and I was pushing the guys in front and thought we could be in for a shot at the podium. Unfortunately, after the pitstops, we couldn’t make the hard tyre work for us and struggled for pace compared to the other guys. I defended as best as I could but ultimately couldn’t match them for pace and had to settle for 7th!”
Starting on the front row for the sprint race, Jordan knew it was an excellent opportunity for him to convert his second place start into a podium or a win in front of his home fans. Unfortunately for Jordan, an average start left him vulnerable to the flying Luca Ghiotto and Oliver Rowland, who eventually got past him.
Jordan stayed with Rowland as the pair went parallel through Abbey and Farm but eventually had to forfeit at turn three to Rowland. Getting tremendous traction out of turn four, Jordan had the run on Rowland and took to the outside at turn five in an attempt to make a move before the hanger straight. However, Rowland squeezed Jordan to the outside and didn’t leave racing room – resulting in the pair made contact.
This contact left Jordan’s car with too much damage to continue and he had to retire from the race after just five corners – a disappointing end to his home race.
Jordan’s disappointment at the sprint race was clear.
“My start wasn’t the best of the season and resulted in me losing a couple of places. I was fighting with Rowland through the first couple of corners and on the exit of turn four we were running side by side but he didn’t leave enough room for me, resulting in contact and too much damage to my car to carry on.”
Jordan’s results from the weekend now move him up one position into 9th with his tenth point-scoring finish from twelve races. His 49 points also make up all the team’s points which now, with only the help of Jordan, lie in 7th place.
Next up for the 23-year-old is a trip to Hungary and the Hungaroring, a favourite amongst the drivers and a track where Jordan picked up a second place at last year.
#15 Jordan King (MP Motorsport)
Free Practice: 7th (1:41.329, +0.634)
Qualifying: 4th (1:38.988, +0.561)
Feature Race: 7th
Sprint Race: DNF