Mitch Evans' preoccupation with fast starts has paid off, getting the young Kiwi driver back in the GP2 mix.
Evans shrugged off two disappointing meetings in Bahrain and Spain to return to the podium in Monaco yesterday, taking third in the feature race at the famous circuit.
Having qualified second, Evans got the jump on his team-mate and pole position holder Johnny Cecotto from the start to avoid a 12-car pile-up that put the race on hold.
When it resumed with Cecotto in one of nine cars ruled out with damage, Evans had pole position and led the race for 11 laps before a pit stop cost him places and saw him battle back to finish third with Britain's Sam Bird an impressive winner and Kevin Ceccon second.
"Since qualifying I had been focusing on the start, getting a good launch and hopefully get in the lead. I got a really good start," Evans said. "The past two races have been really bad, so to be on the podium in Monaco is very special. It's amazing. I'll take it."
The result, to go with his 10th and third in the opening two races in Malaysia, lifted rookie Evans to ninth on the drivers' standings, with the Monaco sprint race being held overnight.
"The tyre strategy that we chose was a lot different than many others. We decided to go with the (super soft) option tyres which was going to give us a better start than the (soft) prime tyres, but as soon as the race restarted I was struggling a lot for overall grip and Sam was pushing a lot behind me.
"He was very quick with the prime tyres. And then when I came to the pit stop, I think it was a lap too late and Kevin got me. I saw his crashbox (at the rear of the car) until the end of the race. There was nothing I could do about it, but we had good pace.
"We caught up to him, but it's just too hard to pass around here."
Second was definitely possible "so I'm a little bit disappointed with having finished only third. But I'll take it".
- © Fairfax NZ News