Mitch Evans has solid GP2 weekend in Austria
Kiwi motor racing driver Mitch Evans could not back up his big move from Monaco, but still made modest progress up the GP2 standings after a mixed weekend at the latest stop in Austria.
Evans, in his first appearance at the Red Bull Ring, finished seventh in Saturday's feature race after starting from eight on the grid, and then backed that up with a more meritorious fourth-place finish in Sunday's sprint race.
Evans had made a flying start on Saturday, challenging for third into turn one with Jolyon Palmer and Stefano Coletti, but after minor contact with Palmer, had to settle for fifth on the run down to turn two.
With half the field on the harder prime tyres and the others on the soft tyres, tyre strategy turned out to be crucial.
"I made a good start, then got squeezed and lost a few positions out of turn one," Evans reflected.
"Then it was a matter of the strategy. I started on the primes and I don't think it worked that well at this track. The guys who started on the softer tyres didn't suffer as much and ultimately the other strategy worked better than ours."
After coming in for fresh tyres on lap 28, Evans was able to work his way into seventh by the checkered flag.
A bad start from the front row in Sunday's sprint may have cost the Kiwi driver a spot on the podium.
"My starts have been good all year, except for today," Evans said. "I had a very bad start, releasing the clutch too quickly and then the anti-stall kicked in so I had to engage the clutch again and as a result lost many positions."
Evans still managed to drive through the field into fourth and over the last few laps closed the gap to Raffaele Marciello in third, challenging him twice on the run down to turn three over the final two laps.
"Our pace seemed good and I was closing down Marciello. I had a few nibbles at him, one big one in the last lap which unfortunately I didn't pull off. I was really disappointed because I missed a great opportunity to be on the podium," Evans added.
Felipe Nasr, second on the overall standings, won the feature race and Johnny Cecotto, third, took out the sprint to close the gap on leader Palmer.
Evans remains positive as the series now heads to Silverstone on July 5 and 6.
"'Of course you always want more, but it wasn't a disaster today and at least we got a few more points. We've got a lot of positives to take away from the weekend," he said.