Mitch Evans emerged victorious after an incredible GP2 Feature Race at Hockenheim
Third place for Jolyon Palmer sees him increase championship lead
By William Esler
Last Updated: 21/07/14 12:49pm
Mitch Evans emerged victorious from an incredible GP2 Feature Race at Hockenheim as the series marked its 200th contest.
The New Zealander came from 15th on the grid to take the win, somehow making his medium tyres last 25 laps to hold off Stoffel Vandoorne and Jolyon Palmer at the end of the race.
With track temperatures nearing 60C, the Pirellis were given a stern workout at the German circuit, leading to a mix of strategies which served up a fascinating race.
The front-runners opted to start on the medium tyres and make a late switch the options, whilst Evans started on the soft compound and completed just 13 laps before his stop, giving him fresh rubber to push during the middle part of the race.
With the New Zealander lapping a second a lap faster than the leaders, ART were forced to pit Vandoorne – who had got past poleman Palmer at the start – earlier than planned, but the Belgian still rejoined fractionally behind Evans.
Even at that stage, however, not even Russian Time expected Evans to keep Vandoorne and Palmer, both of whom were on fresh soft tyres, behind him for over ten laps such were the tyre-wear issues that were afflicting the field. Indeed, Stephane Richelmi who was running in fourth at the time, was told to go easier on his rubber so he could challenge Evans for the final podium position at the end of the race.
Somehow, though, the New Zealander held on to edge out Vandoorne by four tenths of a second and make it back-to-back Feature Race wins. Palmer dropped back over the final lap, but still increased his championship lead courtesy of his seventh podium finish of the season and picking up the two bonus points for fastest lap.
The action was not consigned to the front of the field, however. Stefano Coletti came out on top of an intense battle with Felipe Nasr and Johnny Cecotto to take fourth. Nasr would follow him home in fifth, but Cecotto lost valuable championship points after running into the gravel on the entrance to the Stadium Section whilst defending from the Racing Engineering driver on the penulatmate lap.
Arguably the overtake of the race went to Raffaele Marciello with a thrilling move in front of the Mercedes grandstand at Turn Eight. The Ferrari protégé went around the outside of Johnny Cecotto at the long left-hander, controlled the wheel spin on the exit and held the inside line for Turn Ten – a move that will surely have impressed the on-looking Ferrari staff in the paddock. The Italian’s race would be ruined by a slow pit-stop, however, when his engine died and refused to restart, losing him almost a lap.
Sunday’s reverse grid Sprint Race will see Nathanael Berthon start from pole and you can see the action live on Sky Sports F1 from 9:30am.
GP2 Feature Race – Germany
1) Mitch Evans (NZL) – Russian Time – 58:15.099
2) Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) – ART Grand Prix - +0.414
3) Jolyon Palmer (GBR) – DAMS - +2.755
4) Stefano Coletti (MON) – Racing Engineering - +20.191
5) Felipe Nasr (BRA) – Carlin - +20.687
6) Simon Trummer (SUI) – Rapax - +23.432
7) Johnny Cecotto (VEN) – Trident - +30.583
8) Nathanael Berthon (FRA) – Lazarus - +33.160
9) Marco Sorensen (DEN) – MP Motorsport - +35.879
10) Stephane Richelmi (MON) – DAMS - +36.857
14) Adrian Quaife-Hobbs (GBR) – Rapax - +47.572
Jon Lancaster (GBR) – Hilmer Motorsport – DNF
1) Jolyon Palmer – 164
2) Felipe Nasr – 115
3) Johnny Cecotto – 100
4) Mitch Evans – 92
5) Stefano Coletti - 79