British driver, Jordan King, left the Sakhir Circuit with two top five finishes under his belt, after the opening round of the 2017 FIA Formula 2 season.

The 23-year-old, who is this year contesting his third year in the F1 feeder series, finished 4th and 5th in the weekend’s two races with Dutch team MP Motorsport, taking him to joint 4th in the Drivers’ Championship.

Though practice went well, with the recent testing in Bahrain giving the team the opportunity to try something new, a yellow flag in qualifying threw a curve ball into the mix.

“Qualifying on the first set of tyres went quite well and I knew we just needed a small set up change and I would be able to improve my lap time, so I was confident going into the second half of the session”, King explained. “However the crash and resulting yellow flag meant we did not have the chance to get a time in and ended up P11 on the grid.

“Although that wasn’t the ideal place for us to start the first race of the season, I was encouraged by the speed that we did have and with how the car felt. I’m sure that without the incident we could have qualified much higher. With that in mind I had plenty of confidence going into the race. “

With the high tyre wear and good overtaking opportunities at Bahrain, the Brit wasn’t ruling out a good result.

“I got a good start and was up into 7th at the end of lap one, showing strong pace on the prime tyre.”

However, a slow pit stop when changing to option tyres lost King about three seconds, meaning he came out further down the grid with more cars to overtake.

“This did mean I lost more time”, admitted King, “but the car was feeling even better after the stop and I made good progress up the field. On the last few laps I was really starting to gain on the front few and do feel that with a couple more laps I could have caught LeClerc.”

A great move in turn one on the final lap sealed fourth place for King, giving a strong points finish ahead of Sunday’s 23-lap sprint race, which the Brit would start from P4 after the pole-sitting car failed to make the start.

“The sprint race was very tricky”, said King, “We were on the prime tyre for the whole race and had made a few set up changes for this, not all of which gave the benefit we were hoping for and although it was another strong race, we didn’t quite have enough pace, being about two-tenths a lap off.”

Despite this, King battled into the podium placings twice during the race, before eventually crossing the line in fifth for another well-deserved points finish.

“All in all it was a great start to my 2017 campaign and a very encouraging first race with my new team, MP Motorsport. We worked very hard over the winter and have made great progress given where we were in the first test. To only be lacking a couple of tenths so early on is a testament to the dedication of this team and I’m looking forward to continuing working closely with my engineers to be in the best place we can ahead of the next race.”

The double points finish over the weekend sees King leave round 1 in joint 4th place in the Championship with 18 points.

The next round of the Formula 2 Series takes place at the Circuit de Barcelona on May 12-14.