Series newcomer and Carlin driver Alex Lynn cruised to the GP3 title in dominant fashion in 2014, following in the footsteps of F1 drivers Esteban Gutierrez, Valtteri Bottas and Daniil Kvyat.
The British driver joined Carlin for a GP3 assault off the back off a third place overall championship finish in the FIA Formula 3 Euro Series, and well and truly stepped up a gear for 2014 becoming the first british GP3 champion in the process.
“I think we’ve done everything that has been asked of us: We’ve led the championship from start to finish so there’s not much to complain about,” said Lynn.
“It’s obviously fantastic to win the championship: that was my goal at the start of the year and we managed to achieve it.”
Such was Lynn’s dominance, he sealed the title after qualifying in the last round in Abu Dhabi, when fellow Brit Dean Stoneman failed to claim the point awarded for pole position. Three wins, four seconds, and zero retirements confirmed Lynn as GP3’s most convincing champion ever, on paper.
“A friend of mine worked out that halfway through the season, we had scored more points than anybody else had ever done at that point in GP3 Series history, so that was very gratifying.”
Evaluating the level at which Lynn performed this year in terms of points is difficult, because of the various points systems GP3 has used. However, Last year’s Champion Daniil Kvyat scored 168, with one less round on the calendar.
Hypothetically, if Kvyat took maximum points from an additional round, he would still be 12 points short of Lynn’s 2014 tally of 207.
Kvyat isn’t a bad benchmark for Lynn either, as the Russian driver went straight into F1 with Toro Rosso from his GP3 seat, with many hailing him as one of the best young drivers in F1 this year.
A view obviously shared by Red Bull who chose him to replace four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel.
Another thing shared by Lynn and Kvyat’s seasons was consistency. Although Kvyat racked up two more DNF’s than Lynn, he was consistently in the top five and top 10.
The consistency element of Lynn’s success was vital this season, as he managed to clock up the GP3 points record with less wins than Stoneman.
“Consistency was very important. We’d worked out before the start of the season, together with my engineer Matt, that if we scored at least 22 points from each race weekend, we couldn’t be beaten to the title.
“And that’s exactly what we did. It wasn’t exactly winning the championship by numbers but we had to look at the bigger picture all year and consistency is a big part of that.”
Lynn also credits his fast start to the season as key to his success, as the Brit clocked up a win on his first time out as a GP3 driver.
“Actually it was very important to get off to a good start and lay a foundation to follow for the rest of the year, so one of the most important weekends was the very first one in Barcelona.
“We won the first race, and that enabled us to lead the championship from the very start.”
In no small part down to Lynn, his team also took the GP3 teams Championship, with Carlin becoming the first team to outdo ART Grand Prix and its various guises since the GP3 series came into existence in 2010.
“Absolutely, Carlin completely deserved it. We had a winning car this year so all credit to them for delivering against very strong opposition.
“There were moments this year when the car just felt absolutely unbeatable: Austria, the home of Red Bull, was one of them, for example.”
The performance at Red Bull Ring was one of the best of the season for Lynn, who went lights-to-flag in the feature race before a broken wing on the opening lap of the Sprint Race left him 20th.
The Feature race result was all the more special for Lynn at the home of one of his major backers, Red Bull, who have helped him along his career so far.
“It’s a great relationship with Red Bull; they have helped me so much to progress my career. I’m very grateful for all the opportunities that have come my way so far.”
Lynn was in the running for the Formula 1 race seat at Toro Rosso for 2015, vacated by Kvyat, before FR3.5 frontrunner Carlos Sainz Jr was chosen for the role. An F1 reserve driver role isn’t out of the question for Lynn though, who got his first taste of up to date machinery in the recent Abu Dhai test.
“Driving the F1 car was an absolutely fantastic experience. I only needed four laps or so to get on the pace, which I was pleased about, but at the same time I only had half a day and I didn’t get a qualifying run on supersoft tyres.
“I really enjoyed my time in the F1 car, but I had plenty left in reserve.”
With the reserve roles in Formula 1 being filled quickly, Lynn is hoping the answer to his 2015 conundrum is just around the corner.
“An F1 reserve role would certainly be my aim; once you’ve driven an F1 car, it becomes slightly addictive!
“But there are other options too, including GP2. I tested a GP2 car at Abu Dhabi – strangely, after the F1 car, so I probably went about it in the wrong order! Again I found myself on the pace quite quickly. So that could be a good option too.”
Thanks to his dominance in GP3 this year though, the Essex driver should have no problem in procuring a very handy race seat in 2015.
Images courtesy of GP3 Media Service