Having switched from Russian Time over the winter, Evans was looking forward to the new season after showing good pace in pre-season testing. However, an indication of the tough weekend ahead came in practice on Friday morning when Mitch could only record the 15th fastest time. Qualifying proved just as frustrating with the Kiwi ending up in a lowly 18th position, with a time of 1min 29.478s; 1.6 seconds off the pole time set by Pierre Gasly.
Saturday’s 37-lap feature race had only completed one lap when the virtual Safety Car and then the real thing was deployed to allow marshals to retrieve the stricken car of Luca Ghiotto. Once the race went back to green and the first round of pit stops got underway, Mitch managed to snatch a couple of places to move into 14thbefore pitting himself on lap 10. He rejoined in 18th and gradually made his way up the order to take 12th at the chequered flag. The race was won by Norman Nato from Nicholas Latifi and Gasley.
The sprint race on Sunday morning didn’t bring any change of fortune for Mitch who was overtaken by his fast-starting team-mate on the first lap as they battled the midfield order.
A train of cars quickly built up behind the struggling Campos cars and Evans had his mirrors filled by Sergey Sirotkin. The Russian finally barged his way past Evans, while in the closing stages of the race Gelael and Antonio Giovanazzi touched, the young Italian spearing off the track and making heavy contact with the barriers, fortunately without serious injury. The race ended under the Safety Car with Alex Lynn taking the victory from Gasly and Jordan King.
"We had a horrible weekend,” said Mitch, "Ever since practice on Friday, we had strange balance issues which we couldn’t cure during practice and these continued into qualifying where our pace was surprisingly slow. We were stronger in the feature race but the safety car period messed up our strategy. We worked hard overnight trying to find an answer for our lack of pace but in today’s sprint race we still weren’t where we should be. We’ve got a lot of searching to do between now and the next race at Monaco in two weeks time.”