KING REIGNS SUPREME FOR HOME WIN AT SILVERSTONE
Date: 11 / 07 / 2016
Lewis Hamilton wasn’t the only British driver tasting the winner’s champagne at Silverstone yesterday.
Just a few hours before the Mercedes F1 ace took his fourth British Grand Prix victory, 22-year-old Jordan King withstood intense pressure from his nearest pursuer – and the classic British summertime elements – to rack up his second GP2 Series win in as many weekends.
Starting from pole position for the second of the two races, the Racing Engineering driver led every lap of the 21-lap contest to take victory and move up to sixth in the drivers’ standings, just one point adrift of team-mate Norman Nato and only 15 off the championship lead, after five of the series’ 11 rounds.
A rain shower with just three laps remaining tested King’s nerves, but the former British Formula 3 champion held on to beat Italian Luca Ghiotto, runner-up in last year’s GP3 series, by half a second.
“It was a fantastic feeling to be sitting on pole position at Silverstone in front of the home crowd,” a delighted King says. “I made a good start and concentrated on getting my head down, controlling the pace and reeling off the laps. Having won in Austria last weekend I felt under less pressure. I knew how to win a GP2 race from the front, so I was focused on doing just that once more.
“Luca was catching me at quite a rate,” King adds, “so I had to drive cleverly to make sure I kept in front. It was a case of looking after the tyres in some places and making sure I was out of reach of an attack for the lead in others.”
The weekend’s opening GP2 contest, Saturday afternoon’s 29-lap feature race, had also allowed King to demonstrate superb pace and racecraft, after qualifying had not quite gone to plan.
“It was such a shame the red flag came out in qualifying as we had the pace to be mixing it at the front. Despite starting seventh on the grid, albeit less than a second off pole, I knew I could make progress through the field.”
Fourth almost immediately, which became third at the end of the opening lap and second a few laps later, corroborated King’s post-qualifying assertion. He was flying, and making inroads into team-mate Nato’s lead.
“Sadly, my tyre wear became a factor and the pitstop call was wrong,” King admits. “When a delay changing the right-rear wheel lost us vital seconds, I knew a top-four result was lost. Still, eighth place equated to four championship points and reversed-grid pole for race two.”
With 19 points added to his tally, thanks to a third double-points-haul weekend of the season, King is confident he and the team are heading in the right direction.
“We’re getting there,” he admits. We’re on top of the car, the pace is there, and the racecraft is good, so I’m looking forward to getting to Hungary in two weeks’ time and keeping up the momentum of the past two weekends.”
The next round of the GP2 Series takes place at the Hungaroring on July 23-24.