Motorsport: Tough weekend in Barcelona for Evans

Mitch Evans. Photo / GP2 Series Media
Mitch Evans. Photo / GP2 Series Media

Kiwi driver Mitch Evans endured a frustrating weekend in both GP2 races at the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona. A lack of pace in qualifying saw him start 19th in the Saturday feature race in which he drove up to 12th, and in the Sunday sprint race he finished 13th.

"This is what can happen when you don't qualify well; we were playing catch up all weekend," said Evans. "My start in the sprint race was all right and I made up places but I had no front end grip from the first lap. I had understeer so I needed to drive to save the front left tyre.

"The tyres came back to me towards the end of the race and I gained on the cars ahead but then I got squeezed when Haryanto and Canamasas came together and the steering was bent.

"It was a tough weekend for us. Our race pace didn't seem horrible, compared to qualifying and everyone else. It is just ridiculously close between everyone, so to find a gain is really tough.

"The team and I are working very hard to try and make as many improvements as possible for the rest of the championship.

"Monaco is up next - I'm starting my preparation for that tomorrow."

Arden International teammate Johnny Cecotto started from the reverse grid pole because he finished eighth on Saturday, but he too suffered from early tyre degradation in the sprint race and slipped to fifth.

Stefano Coletti claimed his second win of the season with a dominant victory in the Sunday race, controlling the pace all the way to lead home Robin Frijns and Felipe Nasr.

The win was set up at the start. Poleman Cecotto made a decent getaway but Coletti's was even better, getting alongside the front man before turn one and going all the way round the outside for the lead.

Behind them Tom Dillmann stalled on the grid, so Frijns snuck inside while his rivals tripped over each other, giving the Dutchman a clear run to the first corner.

Cecotto tried in vain to fight back but Coletti had the measure of the Venezuelan, who lost grip, allowing Frijns and Nasr to pass. Jolyon Palmer, Alexander Rossi, a slow starting Kevin Ceccon and Rio Haryanto slid in behind.

Damage to Cecotto's car showed as a train formed behind him, and it was only a matter of time before he dropped back. Palmer's pressure finally paid off and he was through on lap 20, as the Venezuelan damaged his front wing against the Briton's right rear tyre, slowing him further.

Ceccon tried the same move but ran wide, Rossi locked up going inside Cecotto at turn one and allowed Haryanto through, with Sergio Canamasas and Daniel Abt thrown into the mix with just two laps remaining.

The Spaniard looked to have a clear run on Cecotto but had the door slam shut - with a slowing Canamasas on one side of the track and a squeezed Abt on the other, Haryanto had nowhere to go but over the Spaniard's rear wing.

Out in front Coletti had eased his pace from a gap of over 4 seconds to lead home Frijns by 0.6seconds at the line. Nasr was 7 seconds behind them. Palmer had a quiet run to fourth place, with Cecotto the next man to see the chequered flag just ahead of Rossi, Ceccon, Abt and Fabio Leimer.

After the race Haryanto was given a 10-grid places penalty for the Monaco Feature Race which will take place in two weeks. He was found guilty of causing the collision with Canamasas in the closing stages.

- NZ Herald

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