Mitch Evans comes of age with Silverstone GP2 victory


Just twelve days after turning 20 - and four rounds into his second GP2 season - the former GP3 Champion put in a mature and masterful performance to soundly beat overall series leader Jolyon Palmer by 4.9 seconds.

Third-placed McLaren Formula 1 protégé Stoffel Vandoorne was a distant 25.6 seconds behind the flying Evans at the finish.Evans started third on the 26-car grid and his Russian Time car snatched the lead by undercutting Palmer during the mandatory pit stop to change tyres.

He held off a spirited challenge from Palmer on the fast sweeping Silverstone circuit, before pulling steadily away to win the 29 lap race with a string of fastest lap times.

The bonus points for fastest lap, and the maiden win in GP2; have lifted Evans from eighth to fourth in the overall standings after nine races of the 22-race International championship.

Evans scored only 2 points from the two opening rounds in Malaysia and Spain but has scored points in every race since; at Monaco, Austria and now Britain.

"We’ve waited a long time for this one; it feels nice,” said Evans on the Silverstone podium; watched by his mentor Mark Webber.

"The last 18 months have been really tricky for us, for me and my family, and it’s a huge relief for everything to come together finally for my first win in GP2. It’s been far too long, but I’m really, really happy to finally get the monkey off my back."

Evans explained his sluggish start, which he put down to a clutch problem. "I think there was a potential clutch problem on the car after the second race in Austria with a bit of a dip on the bite point, and I thought it was going to stall, to be honest."

"Fortunately with Jolyon on the right (side of the grid) being on the damp side of the track, and with everyone else making bad starts apart from Marciello, I got away with it and managed to get Jolyon into turn three.

The car wasn’t really working nice for the first few laps, and then after Jolyon got me I got into a good rhythm and was able to stay with the guys and have a crack when it came to the pitstop.

Fortunately the guys gave me a good car and I was able to stay with Jolyon and make it work, and had a great pitstop from the guys, which has been a bit of an achilles heel for us.

I was really surprised coming out of the pits and they told me Jolyon was just coming out of turn one. It’s hard to know if the undercut or the overcut is going to work, so I just made the most of what I had, and fortunately I still had some life left in the tyres and had a good in-lap.

I think we had the fastest pitstop so that really helped, and after that it was really close between us. The option (tyre) came in quicker than I thought, which really helped me, and after Copse I just put my head down. The car was better than what it was at the start of the race, and that’s to the credit of the guys.

We’ve been playing a lot of catch up since the start of the season because the iSport guys have come back into the championship with Russian Time, and being a year out has hurt us a bit, but we’re getting stronger.

They’re starting to realise more and more what I need from the car, and I think that really showed this weekend,” said Evans.

"We made some good strides in Austria which didn’t really show in the races, but I think we can be consistently on the podium and can hopefully win some more races in the future.

 

The next shorter GP2 race has a ‘reverse top eight grid’ which means Evans will line up on the outside of the fourth row for the 21 lap sprint race with no compulsory tyre change.

 

GP2 Series

Round 5 – Feature race Silverstone – Great Britain July 5 2014

29 laps (170.839km)

Pos Driver Team Time/Gap

1. Mitch Evans Russian Time 50m56.307s

2. Jolyon Palmer DAMS +4.900s

3. Stoffel Vandoorne ART +25.600s

4. Stefano Coletti Racing Engineering +32.000s

5. Julian Leal* Carlin +31.900s

6. Johnny Cecotto Jr Trident +32.200s

7. Felipe Nasr Carlin +32.900s

8. Stephane Richelmi DAMS +34.800s

9. Marco Sorensen MP +35.000s

10. Daniel Abt Hilmer +40.200s

11. Arthur Pic Campos +43.000s

12. Alexander Rossi Caterham +44.500s

13. Adrian Quaife-Hobbs Rapax +45.700s

14. Conor Daly Lazarus +47.400s

15. Sergio Canamasas Trident +49.500s

16. Takuya Izawa ART +56.100s

17. Nathanael Berthon Lazarus +57.800s

18. Artem Markelov Russian Time +1m00.900s

19. Daniel de Jong MP +1m01.600s

20. Andre Negrao Arden +1m03.900s

21. Rio Haryanto Caterham +1m04.700s

22. Jon Lancaster Hilmer +1m05.000s

23. Kimiya Sato Campos +1m18.400s

24. Rene Binder Arden -2 laps

25. Simon Trummer Rapax -3 laps

Retirement:

Raffaele Marciello Racing Engineering 14 laps

Footnote:

*Leal was demoted one place (behind Coletti) for a last lap incident.

 

GP2 Series points after nine of 22 races:

POS

DRIVERS

PTS

1

J. Palmer

135

2

F. Nasr

90

3

J. Cecotto

84

4

M. Evans

65

5

J. Leal

60

6

S. Vandoorne

58

7

S. Coletti

53

8

A. Pic

41

9

S. Richelmi

36

10

R. Marciello

29

11

R. Haryanto

26