Jordan King came agonisingly close to a podium finish at Baku in the latest round of the GP2 series only to see his hard-fought fourth place fall foul of the officials .
King was unable to translate his pace in free practice, where he was just 0.121sec off the session’s fastest man Nyck De Vries, into a good qualifying result and lined up in 15th place for Saturday’s feature race after a red-flag interrupted session.
A textbook manoeuvre down the inside of Robert Visoiu was just one of the moves that saw the 23-year old cross the line after lap one four positions better off in 11th place.
Further impressive overtaking allowed King to climb to seventh place before Sean Gelael found the wall at the tight turn eight on lap 19 to force the race to be red-flagged.
Post-race, Oliver Rowland was handed a ten-second time penalty which resulted in the Harbury driver being promoted to sixth place and meant he would start Sunday’s Feature Race from the second row in third.
King got off the line well and maintained his position heading down into turn one.
After being pushed wide, he had to lift off to avoid contact and this resulted in a loss of momentum heading down into the second corner.
On the back foot, King dropped to fifth as the race unfolded through the first few corners.
After losing a couple more positions, the pace of his MP Motorsport car began to come to life and his resurgence began with another confident move seeing him get past polesitter Ralph Boschung.
Rowland and De Vries retired from the race to push him into the final podium position when championship leader Charles Leclerc arrived on his tail.
What followed was an excellent display of defensive driving from King.
However, he was unable to keep the DRS-assisted Leclerc at bay down the long straight.
Crossing the finishing line in fourth place to keep his scoring streak from the start of the season alive, King was later disqualified by the officials after it was discovered that all four of his Pirelli tyres were below the minimum required tyre pressure.
It was a devastating end to the weekend for but King was prepared to reflect on the positives after a hard-fought three days in Azerbaijan.
“All in all it was a good weekend despite losing my result in the sprint race,” said King, who only found out about his qualification on landing back in the UK.
“The feature race was great fun making my way through the field on this really entertaining track.
“The sprint race was a hard-fought race and I was really pushing the car to its limit.
“It would have been nice to keep my scoring streak alive but we can go to Austria and make amends.”
Now ninth in the FIA Formula 2 championship standings with 37 points, King head’s to Austria’s Red Bull Ring on July 7-9 for round five.