Aitken ‘mas­sively gut­ted’ to miss ti­tle

Autosport (UK) - - GEORGE RUSSELL/GP3 -

THE 2017 GP3 SEA­SON got off to a per­fect start for Jack Aitken when he took pole at the Barcelona opener. But a sen­sor prob­lem ef­fec­tively shut­ting down his en­gine as he fought Nirei Fukuzumi for the win put him out of race one.

That re­tire­ment, plus a slightly dis­ap­point­ing run of re­sults in Aus­tria and Bri­tain – just when Ge­orge Rus­sell was hit­ting a pur­ple patch – left him adrift in the stand­ings.

Aitken ral­lied with a blis­ter­ing pole and race-one win in Hun­gary, and scored bat­tling podi­ums at Spa and Monza, but paid heav­ily for a mis­take pass­ing Do­rian Boc­co­lacci in the sec­ond Bel­gian race, end­ing up 18th.

“[I’m] mas­sively gut­ted,” Aitken re­flected af­ter the ti­tle was ul­ti­mately lost at Jerez. “I thought at the least we’d take it to Abu Dhabi. The year has been a bit up and down – a cou­ple of mis­takes on my side and me­chan­i­cal is­sues and a bit of bad luck in other races. It’s not the sea­son I wanted, but I learned lots and I’m go­ing to come back a stronger driver next year.”

A stand­out mo­ment of Aitken’s 2017 sea­son was his first time driv­ing an F1 car at Jerez in Septem­ber, an op­por­tu­nity that came about af­ter he im­pressed his Re­nault Sport Academy bosses with his

GP3 per­for­mances.

“I was quite pleased be­cause I man­aged to get up to speed re­ally quickly – even quicker than I ex­pected my­self,” he says. “On the day [Re­nault] seemed happy.”

“It’s not the sea­son I wanted, but I’ll come back stronger”

Aitken took pole in sea­son opener, and was fight­ing for win when en­gine ex­pired

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