Reigning British Formula 3 Champion Jordan King arrived at the second round of the FIA European Formula 3 Championship at Hockenheim having secured a podium finish in his home event at Silverstone two weeks ago. The Carlin driver, who was under the weather all weekend, came out of Hockenheim with a second podium of the year, despite having experienced difficult qualifying sessions.
In a field that has a number of drivers who are likely to be gracing F1 grids in the not-to-distant future, King could only qualify tenth for race one, but a good drive from the young Brit saw him finish on the podium, passing Esteban Ocon on the final lap when the Prema Powerteam driver slowed with a mechanical issue. The podium was a deserved result for a strong race.
“I felt really positive going to Hockenheim after leading the race there in 2013 as a rookie,” said King. “But we didn’t quite pull everything together in the first qualifying session. Track conditions had changed since practice and I didn’t manage to get the best out of the new tyres. It was frustrating, because I was only just over a third-of-a-second shy of pole position but when it’s as close as it is in the championship at the moment, that kind of time loss will really hurt you.
“Like at Silverstone, I got a great first lap in race one, and after that it was a question of taking care of my tyres whilst maintaining the pressure on Ocon. To finish third was a great result from where we had started and demonstrated our true pace.”
Engine problems saw King suffer badly in the second qualifying session that set the grid for races two and three, with the Brit being forced to start 19th on the grid when all was done. However, his race pace was there, and he was able to salvage points in both Sunday races, with a ninth in race two and a seventh in race three.
“Things were looking good during qualifying for Sunday’s races, and I felt that the front row was on at the very least – and then we had the engine problem, which left me well out-of-position and facing a mountain to climb,” said King. It was the lowest I had ever started in F3 – I could barely see the lights from where I was sat on the grid!
“I was pretty confident of being able to break into the points, although it’s never easy to make up ground in F3 due to the difficulty of overtaking in these cars and because it’s just that competitive at the moment. I didn’t look in my mirrors once – with nothing to lose, I was in full-on attack mode throughout and if I even so much as sniffed half a move, I went for it. When other drivers made mistakes, I made sure I was there to capitalise and I think we got the most out of every opportunity.
“I was pleased with my performance and progress – our pace was strong again, which went to show what might have been but for the issue in qualifying. The weekend was definitely a missed opportunity from that point-of-view and it was disappointing not to come away with the results we were capable of, but in the circumstances, it was a solid exercise in damage limitation.”
Looking ahead to this weekends races at the legendary Pau street circuit in France, King admitted it will be the first time he’s raced around the track, but hopes his experience around another legendary street circuit in Macau will help him learn the circuit quickly and be fast.
“I’ve never been to Pau before, but it looks like an interesting and challenging track and we proved our potential on street circuits in Macau last year. Grid position will be crucial there, so we can’t afford a repeat of Hockenheim. Our race speed is good enough to fight at the front, so if we can just get qualifying all hooked-up, we should be able to start scoring some really big points and close the gap in the championship standings.”