King outpaces Manor team-mate in a Formula One debut to remember

Jordan King said his first F1 practice session with Manor Racing was a positive one.
Jordan King said his first F1 practice session with Manor Racing was a positive one.
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Jordan King said his much-anticipated first taste of F1 action was ‘difficult to put into words’.

The 22-year-old drove for Manor in the first practice session for the United States Grand Prix in Austin, completing 29 laps of the Circuit of the Americas.

Taking the seat of Pascal Wehrlein, he completed the session in 20th place with a best time of 1:42:012, which put him 1.8sec up on team-mate Esteban Ocon.

Reflecting on the day, King said it was an experience he will never forget.

“The whole experience was something very special,” said King.

“It’s difficult to put into words when you’ve spent 12 years of your life - half my life - pushing towards something and you achieve it.

“For that 90-minute session alone I probably put in 40 hours of preparation work.

“The only way I can describe it is that afterwards I just felt really content.

“Internally, I had a massive smile!

“I delivered under pressure, I didn’t make a mistake. I did everything I needed to and I accomplished one of my goals.”

The Harbury driver was tasked with getting balance checks on long and short runs, while also providing feedback on tyre degradation and performance and he felt the session went as well as could be expected.

“It was a new circuit for me, so there was a lot to learn. But overall it was a very positive day and everything went in the right direction.

“The car stayed in a straight line, the team got the data it needed and I think I did a reasonably good job.”

King also had to cope with the increased media scrutiny that comes with the F1 circus but said he felt at ease under the glare of the cameras.

“My dad said to me, ‘as soon as you get to the airport, just focus on being the best racing driver you can be’.

“That’s all I did.

“You are so engrossed in the process.

“As I was getting my kit on to get into the car I looked up and there was a camera about a foot from my face.

“I was so focused on doing the job in hand I hadn’t even realised what was going on around me.”