Dean Stoneman’s inability to secure pole position for the GP3 Series season finale in Abu Dhabi may have given Alex Lynn the title in a less than satisfactory style, but there is little doubt that the Briton was a convincing champion.
Indeed Lynn’s efforts over the course of the nine-round European and Middle East adventure were such that the Carlin man took the crown with an air of expectation.
The only surprise was that Lynn still had a challenger coming into Abu Dhabi.
It could be argued that the championship should have been put beyond any reach in Sochi, but Lynn’s almost blasé run through the penultimate weekend kept the door open – just a touch – for Stoneman to still have a chance.
Realistically the damage had been done in the opening portion of the season. Pole, fastest lap and the race win in the season’s first race in Barcelona in May gave Lynn a points lead that he would never give-up.
Another pole, win and fastest lap in race one in Austria four weeks later should have been enough to put Lynn on course for a dominant campaign, but his inability to deliver in Sunday’s reverse grid races on a consistent basis held him back.
At the same time, part of the blame could also be laid at the door of the GP3/13, the modifications to which made overtaking incredibly difficult, unless tyre problems became an issue.
While Lynn struggled to deliver victories following Austria, he did continue to collect podiums and points on a regular basis – allotting to secure solid numbers rather than risk crashing and emerging from a weekend empty handed – before eventually taking a reverse grid win at Spa in August.
Five podiums alongside his three victories certainly helped Lynn’s cause, but the lack of a regular challenger throughout the season played in his hands. While the points leader continued to pick up scores, Marvin Kirchhöfer, Jimmy Eriksson, Richie Stanaway and Emil Bernstorff all took race wins, but also endured numerous blank patches where the campaigns fell to nothing.
There is little doubt that Lynn is a very good talent, but it would be far more convincing if he were more aggressively challenged for the top spot and while the 21-year-old spoke of making the jump to F1 this summer, it is understandable that Red Bull may wish to place the Essex man in a championship that will deliver more persistent opposition.