The 19-year old Aucklander topped the time sheets in Friday’s practice session ahead of series rookies, Stoffel Vandoorne and Raffaele Marciello but was disappointed not to be able to repeat his practice performance in the all-important qualifying session, when he was unable to make the most from his new tyres when it mattered most. However, Mitch made rapid progress up the order from seventh on the grid in the 32-lap feature race on Saturday and was running fourth on the second lap before making an early pit-stop when the Safety Car was deployed.
‘We boxed for the primes but as soon as I went out of the pits I knew that we were going to struggle," he said. "The feeling with the car was not too good and we had a lot of tyre degradation. With 15 laps to go the tyres started to go off, I couldn’t really do much, once it happens you’re just a sitting duck.’
Evans dropped back through the field finishing 14th, nearly 37 seconds behind Belgian Stoffel Vandoorne who won on his GP2 debut.
In Sunday’s sprint race tyre management was again key and Mitch pulled off several good overtaking moves to climb up the ranks. He was part of a four car scrap for the final points on offer and managed to fend off a late charge from Rene Binder on the last lap to secure seventh place.
‘We found out what went wrong on Saturday and changed it for the race; we definitely made a step forward. Our pace was better today and I managed to get some points which is good. We have a few weeks off now and I will be working hard with the guys to prepare as good as possible for the next race. The underlying pace of the car is pretty competitive so I am looking forward to Barcelona.’
Round 2 takes place at the Circuitde Catalunya, near Barcelona on May 10/11.