Two points finishes for Evans in Malaysia

The Pertamina Campos Racing driver’s weekend got off to a bad start when after only one flying lap, he crashed heavily in qualifying due to a brake failure, leaving him to line up in 16th for race one.

Although the start was aborted twice in order to clear the stranded car of Mitch’s former teammate Artem Markelov, Saturday’s feature race began more promisingly for the Aucklander who got a great start off the line and was running eleventh by the end of lap one. Championship contender Pierre Gasly didn’t fare as well, dropping quickly from pole position and into the clutches of Evans who dove up the inside on lap two and took tenth. Two laps later when the DAMS car of Nicholas Latifi ran off the track, Mitch was elevated to seventh.

By lap 16 Luca Ghiotto and Mitch were the only two cars that hadn’t pitted for the much faster medium compound tyres, leaving them 18 seconds clear of third place runner Sergey Sirotkin. Ghiotto and Evans finally pitted in tandem on lap 18 and the number 7 Dallara car came back out just behind Gasly in tenth. Gasly couldn’t hold onto his position for long however, and after a two lap fight, Mitch took ninth from the Frenchman. Ghiotto was next in the Kiwi’s sights, but although the medium compound was faster, they degraded quickly and soon Mitch had fallen back into the clutches of Gustav Malja, radioing to his team that he was ‘really struggling with tyres’. Mitch managed to hold the Swede off and crossed the line in eighth place thanks to a last-lap spin by Oliver Rowland. Antonio Giovinazzi took a well fought win, slipping past Sirotkin for the lead on lap 27 and taking the Championship lead in the process.

"The weekend didn’t start overly great for me,” said Mitch. "Free practice was okay at best and in qualifying I had a brake failure. I had a really good start which helped but we didn’t have amazing pace - it was enough to stay in position though.”

Eighth in the feature race meant reverse -grid pole for Mitch on Sunday. On the formation lap he radioed to his team that his brakes were ‘pulling to the right again’, something that the Campos driver has struggled with throughout the season. Nevertheless, the 22 year-old’s start was good, but unfortunately not as good as Ghiotto’s who took the lead at the switchback on turn two. Daniel de Jong was a first lap casualty, however it was Racing Engineering teammates Jordan King and Norman Nato that bought out the safety car on lap three when they tangled fighting for fourth place, ultimately finishing Nato’s race.

The restart saw Mitch immediately under pressure from Raffele Marciello who easily cruised past him which left him defending Malja for third. Mitch did all he could over the next ten laps, but ultimately the Rapax driver got past at turn six. The battle allowed Gasly to get close and less than two laps later he stormed down the inside of Mitch on the back straight and Giovinazzi capitalised, following his teammate through and leaving Mitch in sixth where he stayed until the flag. Ghiotto took the win, becoming the tenth different victor of the season.

"I got an okay start in the sprint race and dropped back progressively which was quite frustrating, I couldn’t really do much more,” explained Mitch afterwards. "I was struggling really early on and as the race went on it just got worse and worse unfortunately. I was at least hoping for some Champagne but that’s the way it goes sometimes. We’ll regroup ahead of the final round in Abu Dhabi at the end of November, and in the meantime I’m really looking forward to my Formula E debut with Jaguar Racing in Hong Kong next weekend.”