Jordan King yesterday secured an historic maiden GP2 victory after a high-pressure, wet-weather charge from pole position in the series’ second race in Austria.
On the morning of the Formula 1 Austrian Grand Prix, the 22-year-old, who is in his second season with Spanish squad Racing Engineering, held off the challenge from highly rated fellow Brits Oliver Rowland and Alex Lynn to become the 11th British driver to win a GP2 race since the series’ inception in 2005.
And by doing so he’s added his name to a list that includes triple world champion Lewis Hamilton.
“It’s fantastic,” said King. “What a relief! I set myself a target of winning races in year two - there are no excuses when you know the team, the car, the tracks and the form. The team did a great job this weekend; the car was mighty, especially in the wet.”
The weekend started in a promising fashion, with the Harbury driver moving through the field from 13th in Saturday’s 40-lap feature race.
“It was looking good for a decent result and I was managing the tyres well,” he said.
“And then it rained. The safety car came out so we took the opportunity to dive into the pits for wets.
“Sadly, the rain stopped, so we had to pit again to go back on to slicks. It was just one of those things. We misjudged it.”
King eventually finished tenth, earning himself a championship point.
Crucially, after post-race penalties had been applied to the two drivers ahead of him, he was moved up to eighth, which meant four points and reversed-grid pole for the following day’s 28-lap sprint race.
“And I loved every minute of it,” is King’s succinct appraisal of a day on which he would enter the record books.
“I made another superb start and got my head down.
“I had to keep my cool when the safety car bunched us all up for a lap. That was my five-second lead eradicated in an instant!
“The team did a great job on the radio of keeping me abreast of what [Oliver] Rowland was doing behind. I pushed a bit more when I needed to extend the gap a bit more.
“At one point, the team asked me on the radio whether I wanted to pit for slicks as it was drying up. ‘No, no!’ I fired back! I felt I could manage them for the rest of the race, and did just that.”
With no further drama, King reeled off the remaining laps to lead home Rowland by six seconds - a huge margin by GP2 standards.
“This feels really special,” GP2’s newest winner said afterwards. “I must thank the team for giving me a great car today that enabled me to take this victory.
“It’s been a slightly up-and-down start to the season, and this win will give everyone in the garage a confidence boost.”