Mitch Evans thrilled to end lean spell in GP2

DUNCAN JOHNSTONE
Last updated 07:38 29/07/2013

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New Zealand motorsport ace Mitch Evans is thrilled to end a lean spell in GP2 with a stunning second placing in Hungary last night, his best result in his rookie season.

Evans started the sprint race in Budapest second on the grid and held that place as he and Nathanaël Berthon dominated the 28 laps at the head of the field.

Berthon held off a fast-finishing Evans to claim his first win at this level but Evans was also thrilled to post his best result.

The 18-point haul at the Hungaroring circuit has lifted him to 10th in the drivers' standings.

His last four races had yielded just two points but, in front of a big crowd gathered for the Hungarian Grand Prix, Evans strutted his stuff yesterday.

The 19-year-old has had three previous podium finishes for third placings this year in an impressive step up as the GP3 champion, but this was new ground.

Evans felt it was just reward for his team who have give his car great speed but haven't had results in recent times as technical issues have dogged him since his double podium weekend in Monaco.

"It's been a long time coming since my last one because we have had a really good pace at Silverstone and Germany but a lot of things have stopped us from getting those results," Evans said.

"The team have done a really good job since our last podium in Monaco but things have not gone our way. Today we really deserved this result. I was really hoping for the win, but Nat was just too quick.

"Our pace was very equal. We pulled away a lot from the rest of the field and I was trying to manage my tyres and save them and having a go at the end.

"I was hoping his tyres would drop off, but they did not enough and when I was catching him, I was using my rear tyres as well. At the end I had nothing left.

"It was unfortunate, but it's still very nice to be back on the podium and get some good points. Hopefully we can get some more podiums and decent points in the coming races."

Evans had the disadvantage of starting on old tyres - they had 10 laps more use on them than any of his rivals - but managed them superbly.

He had tried to get past Berthon early but couldn't and had to wait for a chance that never came.

"It's a very hard balance because when the person in front of you is pushing, it's very hard to judge and anticipate what could happen at the end of the race," Evans said.

"I was hoping to get past him at the start of the race but he was pushing and I was holding back and kept the gap. I was hoping those laps were going to hurt him at the end of the race but although he was dropping off a lot it was not enough.

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"I was just trying to manage it and save the tyres at the same time. If I was going to race this race again there are a few things that I would do differently but I'm happy with my performance today."

Evans is looking for more points at the next meeting at Spa in Belgium on August 23, the eighth of 11 meetings on the calendar.

"We will keep the same thing we've been doing and just try and improve anyway that we can. We're not far away. We're very competitive in the race especially.

"I made a mistake in qualifying this weekend and that's a mistake that I will probably never do again. We will keep pushing on and try and improve as always.

"We need to be at the right place at the right time and hopefully have another good result in Spa."

- © Fairfax NZ News

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