Jordan King left the Norisring in Germany having secured his first FIA European Formula 3 Championship podium finishes since the opening round of the season at Silverstone. He took a runner-up spot in race two and a third place finish in race three to get his flagging season back on track.
The reigning British Formula 3 Champion, driving for Carlin in European F3 this year, was initially disappointed with his weekend, and he feared the run of relative bad luck was going to continue. He qualified tenth for race one after running in the top four in practice, but made up for his disappointment by qualifying sixth and fifth for races two and three respectively.
“The Norisring is not a street circuit in the traditional sense – you’re not dancing between the barriers like you are at tracks such as Macau or Pau,” described King. “It’s not as cut-throat as that, but its bumpy nature and off-camber corners do make it a different type of challenge.
“We looked strong during practice, although first qualifying was a disappointment as I couldn’t string a full lap together, which left me further down the grid than I’d been hoping to be. The session for races two and three was the best we’ve had all year, though, so I was happy with that – it was just annoying that it took us half the season to get there!”
He was making good progress from his tenth place on the grid in race one, and was set for a top four finish when after one of the numerous safety car periods, he made a small mistake that cost him his front wing and any chance of a points finish.
“Our pace was really good in race one and I was able to work my way gradually through the order; I had the ability to overtake from quite a long way back, which I used to my advantage to move up to sixth, but then there was a messy re-start after the third safety car period and I ran into the back of the car in front, damaging my front wing,” said a sad King. “That was such a shame, because looking at the final result, fourth position had definitely been on the cards.”
The Sunday races at the Norisring saw King fight back superbly. The young Briton was one of the stars of the dry-wet race two, securing a seasons best finish of second behind Van Amersfoort Racing’s Max Verstappen, then consolidating that result with a third place in race three, again behind race winner Verstappen and championship leader Esteban Ocon of Prema Powerteam.
“Race two was very enjoyable and I really got stuck in, whilst in race three it was hugely encouraging to be able to stay with the two championship leaders pretty much the whole way through,” said King. “In fairness, our raw speed has been there all along; we’ve just had difficulty in fully exploiting it, but this is clearly a step forward and I was thrilled to be on the podium again after something of a dry spell. It had certainly been a long time coming!”
He admits that the team have suffered a rough run of races in 2014, but hopes the results at the Norisring are an indication of things to come. After finally getting back on the podium, he climbed to eighth in the Drivers Championship, and is looking to take the fight to those in front of him as the season heads into its second half.
“We’ve had a rough run recently, which meant we arrived at the Norisring a long way adrift of the championship lead,” said King. “We’ve had so many problems and setbacks this year that it was difficult to really know too much what to expect. We knew we needed to turn things around, but then we’d been saying that for the past few weeks and it still hadn’t happened…
“We’re back up where we should be – fighting at the front – and even if the position doesn’t necessarily reflect as much, we have gained a fair chunk of ground in the standings. Now we need to keep this positive momentum going and build upon it by consistently pushing for more podiums – because there is still an awful lot to play for this year.”