Evans takes Feature race victory amid Red Bull Ring craziness

Mitch Evans - Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Mitch Evans led a Campos Racing 1-2 in the opening GP2 Series race of the weekend held in mixed conditions at the Red Bull Ring on Saturday.

The race was affected by a heavy rain shower that only hit part of the circuit, a safety car period and a red flag, and it was Campos Racing that made the most of the conditions, with Evans taking his first victory of the season ahead of team-mate Sean Gelael, who secured his first podium finish in GP2.

The early stages of the race were dominated by Prema Racing, with Pierre Gasly assuming the lead and pulling away from team-mate Antonio Giovinazzi, but the race leader saw his chance of a first race win disappear once again as he was the first to hit the rain, spinning into the gravel and into retirement.

It was at that time a whole host of drivers made the gamble to switch from dry to wet tyres, including Norman Nato and Alex Lynn, but new race leader Giovinazzi was the first of those to stick to the dry tyres, which ultimately proved to be the correct decision.

Giovinazzi led behind the safety car brought out by team-mate Gasly’s car being stranded just off the track, but lost the lead at the restart to Raffaele Marciello of Russian Time at the first turn at the restart before re-passing his fellow Italian a few laps later.

The safety car was brought out again when Marvin Kirchhöfer spun his Carlin machine at turn three, with the leading drivers all making their mandatory pit stop to switch to the Supersoft tyres, but a red flag was soon forthcoming as championship leader Artem Markelov crashed into the pit exit.

Marciello was back in front of Giovinazzi after the pit stops, but Giovinazzi was unable to resume the race due a transmission issue, leaving him stranded in the pits as the cars returned to the racetrack.

Unfortunately for Marciello, he was only third on the road, with the early stopping Evans and Gelael now at the front of the field, and the former Ferrari Driver Academy star was unable to make a challenge to those ahead, leaving the Campos duo to claim the honours.

Luca Ghiotto claimed his best finish of the season with fourth for Trident, just ahead of Jimmy Eriksson, who took his first points of the season for Arden International after starting right at the back of the field and capitalising on the conditions.

Oliver Rowland was sixth for MP Motorsport ahead of Nato, who was forced to switch back to dry tyres after his earlier switch to wets, while Sergey Sirotkin finished eighth despite having started from pole position for ART Grand Prix.

Gustav Malja of Rapax and Jordan King of Racing Engineering claimed ninth and tenth and the final points on offer, but post-race Sirotkin and Malja were handed thirty second penalties for safety car infringements, promoting King to eighth and the Sprint race pole position, while points went to Arthur Pic and Nicholas Latifi.

Red Bull Ring Feature Race Result

17Mitch EvansNZLCampos Racing1:18:32.399
28Sean GelaelINOCampos Racing+4.600
39Raffaele MarcielloITARussian Time+10.789
415Luca GhiottoITATrident+12.363
525Jimmy ErikssonSWEArden International+12.691
622Oliver RowlandGBRMP Motorsport+15.557
73Norman NatoFRARacing Engineering+16.559
84Jordan KingGBRRacing Engineering+22.762
912Arthur PicFRARapax+24.738
106Nicholas LatifiCANDAMS+25.629
115Alex LynnGBRDAMS+27.000
122Sergey SirotkinRUSART Grand Prix+49.708
1311Gustav MaljaSWERapax+50.258
1423Daniel de JongNEDMP Motorsport+1 Lap
1514Philo Paz ArmandINOTrident+1 Lap
161Rene BinderAUTART Grand Prix+2 Laps
RET20Antonio GiovinazziITAPrema RacingRetired
RET10Artem MarkelovRUSRussian TimeRetired
RET19Marvin KirchhoferGERCarlinRetired
RET21Pierre GaslyFRAPrema RacingRetired
RET24Nabil JeffriMAYArden InternationalRetired
RET18Sergio CanamasasESPCarlinRetired