Young NZ driver Mitch Evans has stormed to his maiden GP2 Series victory in the British Grand Prix at Silverstone overnight.
Only just turned 20 and in his second season in the GP2 class, the former GP3 champion drove a mature and masterful race in the fourth round of the series.
Evans soundly beat overall series leader Jolyon Palmer by 4.9 seconds with third-placed McLaren Formula 1 protege Stoffel Vandoorne a distant 25.6 seconds behind the flying Kiwi. ''We've waited a long time for this one; it feels nice,'' said Evans on the podium.
''The last 18 months have been really tricky for us, for me and my family, and it's a huge relief for everything to come together finally for my first win in GP2. It's been far too long, but I'm really, really happy to finally get the monkey off my back.
Evans started third on the 26-car grid and snatched the lead by undercutting Palmer during the mandatory pit stop to change tyres.
He held off a spirited challenge from Palmer on the fast sweeping circuit, before pulling steadily away to win the 29 lap race with a string of fastest lap times.
The win and bonus points for fastest lap have lifted Evans from eighth to fourth in the overall standings after nine races of the 22-race championship.
Evans scored only two points from the two opening rounds in Malaysia and Spain, but has scored points in every race since - Monaco, Austria and Britain.
''The car wasn't really working nice for the first few laps, and then after Jolyon got me I got into a good rhythm and was able to stay with the guys and have a crack when it came to the pitstop," said Evans.
''Fortunately the guys gave me a good car and I was able to stay with Jolyon and make it work, and had a great pitstop from the guys.
''We made some good strides in Austria which didn't really show in the races, but I think we can be consistently on the podium and can hopefully win some more races in the future."
Tonight's shorter race has a 'reverse top eight grid' which means Evans will line up on the outside of the fourth row for the 21 lap sprint race with no compulsory tyre change.
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