KING MOVES UP AT MONZA TO BE GP2’S TOP BRITISH DRIVER
Date: 05 / 09 / 2016
British GP2 racer Jordan King continued his rise up the GP2 Series championship-points table with two more points-scoring finishes in round nine at the hallowed Italian circuit of Monza.
The 22-year-old Racing Engineering driver, who’s already won two races in his second season in the Formula 1-feeder series, lies fifth in the table – which makes him the highest-placed of the British drivers.
King was pleased with his, the car’s and the team’s performance, but admits more pace needs to be found to make inroads into his rivals in the championship chase.
“It was a positive weekend,” he says, “Practice went well – we were fifth quickest with just a few small things that we needed to improve on to find those last few magic tenths.”
The qualifying session to determine grid positions for Saturday afternoon’s 30-lap Feature race was typically tight, with King completing 11 laps, his 1m31.710 giving him fifth on the grid.
“We ironed out a few problems from practice,” he says, “and found seven-tenths of a second. It was encouraging but not quite enough. Still, as I proved at Spa, where I raced from fifth to second, I knew I could get a result from the third row.
“I made a decent start in the first race, briefly taking fourth on the approach to the Turn 1 chicane at Rettifilo, but slotting back into fifth as it all shook out.
“I chose to start on the Option tyres, the softer of the two compounds we’re obliged to run in the Feature race, and unfortunately chose to stay out slightly too long before making my pitstop. Various other factors, including a slow stop to change onto the Prime [harder] tyres and an appearance by the safety car that lost me track position, meant I dropped to seventh by the finish.
“There was definitely a podium finish in both me and the car, so that was a little frustrating, but with the top-eight finishers from race one being reversed for the Sprint race, it meant I would be starting on the front row on Sunday morning.”
King duly lined up in second, alongside reversed-grid poleman and five-time GP2 race winner Mitch Evans for the 21-lap Sprint race, but was confident of getting past the Kiwi.
“I knew I could pass Mitch and I did,” King says, “but my team-mate Norman Nato got a superb tow on me and got into the lead. We were running in a Racing Engineering team one-two, which was great, but sadly my pace soon mysteriously dropped off and my tyre degradation was worse than I anticipated. It was the Catch-22 scenario of pushing hard but losing tyre performance when I did.
I have to be pretty content with fourth, though, which earned me eight points and moved me up to fifth in the table. But, as a racing driver, I always want more so I’m really focusing on a final push in the remaining two rounds in Malaysia and Abu Dhabi – there are still lots of points on offer.
The penultimate round of the GP2 Series takes places at Sepang in Malaysia on Oct 1-2.