Hockenheim GP2: Mitch Evans wins series' 200th race from 15th
|By Charles Bradley||Saturday, July 19th 2014, 15:26 GMT|
Mitch Evans won the Hockenheim GP2 Series feature race, the 200th in the championship's history, with an amazing drive from 15th on the grid in his Russian Time machine.
Evans, who struggled through practice and qualifying with front rollbar issues, elected to roll the dice by starting on the soft tyre. This gave him an early opportunity to carve his way past those ahead who started on the medium rubber.
Already up to 11th after the opening lap, he had a lucky escape when a clash with Alexander Rossi at the Spitzkehre hairpin left his car undamaged while Rossi's steering was broken. By lap five, Evans was up to ninth.
Evans then passed Stephane Richelmi, who also started on the softer tyre, and Johnny Cecotto Jr on successive laps, but crucially stayed out until lap 14 to make his mandatory pitstop - giving him a sensible stint of 24 laps on the medium tyre.
Others who started ahead of him on the soft tyre, Arthur Pic and Raffaele Marciello, were running fifth and sixth when they pitted earlier - but both of them stalled, apparently due to overheating engines. This gained Evans another two places.
Now on fresh medium rubber, Evans had to work his way through the traffic of slower cars that had started on the mediums - and also had to repass Richelmi, who had undercut him. Sergio Canamasas in particular almost ruined his cunning strategy by being obstinate.
At the front, meanwhile, ART's Stoffel Vandoorne had outdragged poleman Jolyon Palmer's DAMS car off the startline to lead the opening 25 laps. But as he rejoined from his pitstop, Evans swept past Vandoorne into the lead.
Amazingly, Vandoorne didn't realise he had to pass Evans, assuming the Russian Time car still had to stop. After dropping back by 1.5s, Vandoorne caught up again, but the advantage of the fresh soft rubber had effectively been wasted when he'd needed to strike.
The McLaren Formula 1 test driver tracked Evans to the finish, but couldn't get close enough to try a pass and finished second by 0.4s.
Palmer finished third, while a frantic scrap for fourth was won by Stefano Coletti after a crazy duel with Felipe Nasr and Johnny Cecotto Jr that was only decided in the closing laps.
Nathanael Berthon will start Sunday's reversed-grid sprint race from pole after finishing eighth.
Results - 38 laps: Pos Driver Team Time/Gap 1. Mitch Evans Russian Time 58m15.099s 2. Stoffel Vandoorne ART +0.414s 3. Jolyon Palmer DAMS +2.755s 4. Stefano Coletti Racing Engineering +20.191s 5. Felipe Nasr Carlin +20.687s 6. Simon Trummer Rapax +23.432s 7. Johnny Cecotto Trident +30.583s 8. Nathanael Berthon Lazarus +33.160s 9. Marco Sorensen MP +35.879s 10. Stephane Richelmi DAMS +36.857s 11. Rene Binder Arden +37.111s 12. Tom Dillmann Caterham +38.081s 13. Takuya Izawa ART +43.096s 14. Adrian Quaife-Hobbs Rapax +47.572s 15. Sergio Canamasas Trident +49.996s 16. Julian Leal Carlin +58.217s 17. Raffaele Marciello Racing Engineering +1m02.333s 18. Andre Negrao Arden +1m04.818s 19. Arthur Pic Campos +1m05.181s 20. Daniel Abt Hilmer +1m09.082s 21. Conor Daly Lazarus +1m09.244s Retirements: Rio Haryanto Caterham 37 laps Jon Lancaster Hilmer 24 laps Daniel de Jong MP 12 laps Alexander Rossi Campos 5 laps Artem Markelov Russian Time 0 laps