The conditions at the track in Hockenheim were scorching hot as Friday’s practice session got underway. It wasn’t a great start to the weekend for the Russian Time driver as he struggled with pace and balance of the car which left him in 17th place.
In the afternoon qualifying session track temperatures climbed to 58C and the teams were lining up before the green light to get out on track early. Despite the team having made changes to the car following the issues in practice, Evans seemed to lack considerable pace and qualified in P15. "I was pretty disappointed with how qualifying went for us. I struggled with the balance of the car and we didn’t have any pace. It turned out that we had a front anti roll bar issue since practice which gives you a false balance of what the car is doing and it’s very unpredictable to drive. I initially thought we were too aggressive with the set up, but after we made changes for qualifying it created even more problems.’
Whilst the top ten started Saturday’s 38-lap feature race on primes, Mitch had to roll the dice with an alternate tyre strategy starting on softs. Nobody expected the soft tyres to last long in the very hot temperatures. A few drivers started to pit early on but Evans, Pic and Marciello kept going climbing further up the field. Mitch held on to the soft tyres two laps longer than Pic and Marciello, who both stalled in the pits.
After his stop the young Kiwi rejoined the field behind Stéphane Richelmi and passed him a couple of laps later. He then kept pushing on to overtake the drivers who hadn’t pitted yet to put himself into the best possible position to defend the lead on his old primes against the drivers with new softs with 13 laps to go.
Jolyon Palmer then in third, was fighting Stoffel Vandoorne hard for position, both wearing down their tyres, which gave Evans a bit of a breather. In the end the 20-year old Aucklander held on to win by 0.4 sec ahead of Vandoorne.
"After the car came back from parc ferme we found the problem and went back to our base line set up. In the race it felt like a different car and we got our pace back. I was confident we were able to move forward from fifteenth but I wouldn’t have thought to go for the win. I’m still trying to realise what happened today. This is certainly going to be a race I will never forget.”
The weather had turned overnight and as it rained just before the race started, a lot of drivers had opted to start on the more conservative wet tyre in Sunday’s 27-lap sprint race. Mitch also on wets, got a great launch from eighth, climbing up to second in the first lap before the safety car was deployed following an incident at the first corner which left
Stephane Richelmi’s car on fire. At the restart, Evans overtook Berthon for the lead but as the track started to dry up he struggled with the grip and dropped back through the field finishing eleventh.
"I was pleased I got off to another good start making up a few positions. The pace wasn’t too bad at the start but behind the safety car I felt that the grip was getting worse each lap. We pitted for slicks but there wasn’t much I could do in the end with the lack of grip. I feel that we’ve left a bit of change on the table today, but overall with two feature race wins in a row I’m very happy and we’ll see what we can do next weekend in Hungary.”
Mitch is now in 5th position with 92 points.
Round 7 takes place in Budapest, Hungary on July 26/27.
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