King secures valuable points in tough Monza weekend

British racer Jordan King endured a tough weekend in the eighth round of the GP2 Series in Italy, but emerged with championship points for the third race in succession and a second pole position to add to his maiden-season tally.

The 21-year-old Racing Engineering driver admitted to a tricky start to the event, from which he and the Spanish team bounced back.

“Practice was a tough session,” he says. “There was a lot to take in and we went into qualifying on the back foot. In fact, 15th was my worst grid position of the season so far, even though I was only a whisker over a second from pole position.

“The whole team sat down on Friday night to thrash out the problems and determine where we could improve. It was a really crucial team-building exercise because we made great progress in Saturday’s Feature race.”

King and team-mate Alexander Rossi made excellent progress in the 30-lap race around the historic Monza circuit. American Rossi, now in his third season in the Formula 1-support series, climbed from eighth on the grid to take his second win of the year, while King charged from 15th to eighth to secure the reversed-grid pole slot for Sunday’s Sprint race.

“Behind the scenes we made great progress,” King admits. “And that was proved in the first race by Alex and me moving up a similar number of places.”

FIA Academy member and Manor F1 development driver King secured four championship points for his efforts and reckons his pace was very satisfying following the post-qualifying changes.

“I was happy with the speed,” he says. “We were able to race people and overtake, too, which was encouraging. The car was back to where we wanted it and I was very confident of a good result on Sunday. I was all set to give it 110 per cent from pole position and a clear track ahead of me.”

Sadly for the Warwickshire racer, contact with Arden International racer Norman Nato at the first corner of the 21-lap Sprint event put paid to his efforts thanks to broken suspension.

“Hands up, it was a misjudgement from me,” says King. “I didn’t outbrake myself, I just got caught out by Nato slowing up to try a cut-back on Arthur Pic at the first chicane. I was very disappointed at the time but realise on reflection that these things happen. I must learn from it and move on to the next round in Sochi with my head held high.”

King was handed a five-place grid penalty for the first race in Russia thanks to his part in the incident with Nato, from which the Frenchman also retired.

“That was a bit harsh,” he says, “but I’m heading to Russia determined to convert our improving pace and understanding of the car into decent results.”

The next round of the 2015 GP2 Series takes place at Sochi, Russia, on October 9-11.