It was a case of oh-so-close for British ace Jordan King in Monaco for round two of the 2016 GP2 Series. The 22-year-old Warwickshire racer came to the principality on the back of a podium finish in the opening round in Spain and felt full of confidence ahead of his second visit to motorsport’s most famous venue in his Racing Engineering Dallara-Renault.

And qualifying certainly backed up that assertiveness. King was fast enough for a place on the second row – ahead of the two other Brits on the grid, Oliver Rowland and Alex Lynn.

“I was really pleased with the pace straight away,” King admits. “Practice went well, the team and I were happy with the set-up for Friday’s 40-lap pitstop race and all was looking good.”

After biding his time in third for more than 20 laps, keeping team-mate and race leader Norman Nato and polesitter Sergey Sirotkin in sight, King moved up to second when Russian youngster Sirotkin crashed out on the exit of the Swimming Pool just after half distance.

Cooly running behind Nato and looking good for another podium finish, King made “a tiny error – probably measuring half an inch” that brought his race to a premature end with suspension damage just 13 laps from home.

“I was in chill mode,” he says. “I was looking after the tyres and waiting for the pitstops, when I touched the barrier on the uphill right-hander exiting Casino Square. It was just enough to break the wishbone. I was gutted, to say the least, especially when Norman had a delayed pitstop that would’ve put us in the pound seats.”

Race two, Saturday’s 30-lap sprint, was always going to be hard, starting from 19th on the grid.

“It was a case of ‘let’s see how far we can get’,” admits King. “Overtaking is extremely tricky round here at the best of times, and the stewards are hot on any misdemeanours. I managed to get up to 16th – and that’s as far as it was possible to go.”

Reflecting on the weekend as a whole, King is hugely disappointed that he left the principality with no points, but is comforted by the pace he showed.

“I was really looking forward to the weekend, so it’s a big shame to leave empty-handed,” he says. “My speed was good straight away and, importantly, a big improvement on last year, so my mindset is: we head to Baku in Azerbaijan focused on more strong results to boost my championship challenge.”