British GP2 racer Jordan King had a low-key finish to his sophomore season in the Formula 1 feeder series with 13th and tenth-placed finishes in the Abu Dhabi finale.
However, before strapping himself into the Racing Engineering Dallara V8, the 22-year-old took part in Friday’s first Free Practice session for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix aboard Manor Racing’s Manor-Mercedes MRT05.
It was the second time King has been part of the F1 programme this year, having driven the Manor in FP1 at Austin for October’s United States GP.
“It was great to be back in a Formula 1 car in Abu Dhabi,” said King, whose fastest lap was just over a second shy of team-mate Pascal Wehrlein. “It was a very different run-out to Austin; the team wanted to try a whole range of things.”
However, King’s number-one priority at the Yas Marina circuit was to protect his fifth place in the GP2 standings.
“I really needed to score points to protect my position. After qualifying 11th I told the team that I hadn’t driven particularly well - it took me a while to get back into the swing of the car after doing the F1 session!”
Unfortunately, a series of problems - a dropped wheel nut during the compulsory pitstop, on top of an ill-judged strategy change - meant King lost a lot of time during Saturday’s 31-lap feature race and dropped to 13th.
Then a lack of pace on the straights in Sunday’s 22-lap sprint race meant he had to settle for tenth, leaving him seventh overall in the final reckoning.
His tally of 122 points was more than double his tally from his rookie season but he admitted it was a frustrating end to a positive year.
“The end result doesn’t reflect the year as a whole.
“It’s been a great season in many ways - especially taking my first win in Austria and my second on home soil at the next event at Silverstone.
“ I’ve learned a lot as a driver and been able to improve in several areas of my game.
“I’m looking forward to working hard over the winter to ensure my career trajectory continues, whether that’s in GP2 or F1 or both.”