Bittersweet weekend for Evans at the GP2 season opener in Bahrain

hot practice session on Friday with Mitch in eighth. After a good first lap in qualifying, Mitch couldn’t improve in his second attempt and qualified 13th.

The feature race on Saturday saw an early safety car after a multi car pile up following the battle for third place between Nato, Marciello, Pic and Gasly. Mitch and some other drivers who had started on the soft tyre, opted for an early pit stop under the safety car which meant a long way to go on the new set of mediums with 25 laps remaining. The early stop however proved to be the right call for Mitch as he made his way through the field climbing up into second behind Alexander Rossi, after the leaders dropped out to make their mandatory tyre change.

In the closing laps of the race, Mitch got into a battle with King over second place which allowed Stoffel Vandoorne to take advantage of the hold up behind the two, working his way up the field. Vandoorne made quick moves on Evans and King to eventually overtake Rossi who struggled with his tyres towards the end of the race. After a great recovery drive Mitch finished 6th.

Starting the 23-lap sprint race on Sunday from third position, Mitch climbed up immediately into second challenging pole sitter Julian Leal into the first corner. Rio Haryanto in third overtook Mitch in the first few laps and also made short work of leader Leal who seemed to struggle with his tyres. Evans managed to get past Leal but ran wide losing the place again to Leal followed by Robert Visoiu who then overtook Leal. Mitch was fighting to get past Leal who wasn’t going to give up the place easily and the two made contact with Leal’s front wing end plate damaging Mitch’s front left tyre resulting in a puncture.

Despite posting fastest laps on the new set of soft tyres, Mitch had fallen back too far and eventually finished 17th with Rio Haryanto winning ahead of Stoffel Vandoorne and Nathanaël Berthon.

"I didn’t get a bad start today moving up into P2. Leal was going hard early on and from what we saw at the race yesterday tyre degradation was big so I was taking it a bit easier. Haryanto was very fast yesterday and I was expecting him to push on me early on. When I made a move on Leal we made contact on the exit and I had a puncture and had come back to the pits. It’s really frustrating and disappointing to end the weekend like that. I don’t know if we would have had the pace to get on the podium today but we could have definitely scored some good points.”

Next stop for Mitch is Belgium, where he contests the 6 Hours of Spa with JOTA Sport in the LMP2 class of the FIA World Endurance Championship on 2 May, before returning to the GP2 cockpit at Barcelona on 9/10 May.

- ends -

Follow Mitch’s season: