An impressive charge by Mitch Evans from fourteenth on the grid into sixth place at the end of the opening lap counted for nothing in the Barcelona GP2 Series sprint race overnight at the Spanish Grand Prix.
The 19-year-old New Zealander held the strong sixth position in the early stages but by lap 15 he knew he was in trouble with a badly worn front left tyre. Evans stubbornly held off Johnny Cecetto for another five laps although he already realised his race was run.
"I'd made a mega start and was into a rhythm early on. The car felt good at that stage and I was trying to save the tyres so I could push at the end of the race," said Evans.
"I was feeling comfortable until around lap 15 when Cecotto began to close and I had to use the tyres harder because a couple of times he got a bit optimistic. Then I was in trouble and it was game over."
"As soon as the tread wears away on the loaded left tyre more than it is on the right tyre you start locking brakes.
My left front went earlier than the other cars; I was really struggling."
Evans dropped six places in three laps and with the tyre "down to the canvas," he retired two laps before the finish.
"We'd made a couple of set up changes to overcome a bit of understeer I had during the Saturday race, although we're a bit confused why the tyre wore so quickly."
"Barcelona was disappointing after such a good start but we'll now focus on Monaco in two weeks. I like that track. We'll start our championship there..."
Brazilian driver Felipe Nasr scored his first victory in GP2 in Sunday morning's sprint race. It was his 50th start in the category. Nasr made a fantastic start from sixth on the grid, passing poleman Tom Dillmann on lap two to take a lead he held until the chequered flag.
Points leader Jolyon Palmer, following an early clash with Rio Haryanto, took the fight to Nasr, after passing Dillmann with a bold move on lap five.
Palmer chased down Nasr, and stayed with him for the first half of the race, before Nasr pulled away.
Palmer came back at him in the closing stages, but a big lock-up at Turn 1 sent him across the run-off, and he dropped back to finish 7.6s behind the Brazilian. Dillmann finished third, just holding off Arthur Pic. Julian Leal finished fifth, ahead of Saturday's winner Johnny Cecotto.