Mitch Evans salvages fifth in atrocius conditions
New Zealand driver Mitch Evans endured ''horrendous'' rain and a dubious call from race officials to salvage fifth place in the GP2 feature event at Spa Francorchamps in Belgium today.
Atrocious wet conditions at the start almost cost the New Zealander any chance, but he recovered to snatch fifth place after a race restart.
The result was enough to lift Evans from sixth to fifth in the GP2 standings.
Starting third off the grid, Evans swept through into second place as the 26 cars poured into the hairpin at the initial start.
The heavy rain soon had the safety car on track and the scheduled 25-lap race was red flagged after just three laps.
''When we slowed up behind the safety car the engine temperatures dropped below 70 degrees and the car automatically defaulted into limp mode. The conditions were horrendous and I was crawling along in first gear,'' Evans said.
''I've never driven in conditions that bad, the car was doing it's own thing; just floating across the water.''
Evans struggled around at the back of the field for the restart but reckoned he should have lined up in second place because that was his position when the race was red flagged.
However, race officials ruled that Evans take the safety car restart from sixth place.
''There is a lot of difference in your visibility between second and sixth but I was able to make the best from a bad situation in a weird race. Apart from a difficulty with the brake adjustment, the balance of the car felt good and I was pleased to take fifth place in such bad weather.''
Ferrari Formula 1 protege Raffaele Marciello scored his first GP2 Series victory by beating McLaren junior Stoffel Vandoorne with Johnny Cecotto third.