A strong drive from rookie Mitch Evans gave MW Arden team their first GP3 Series victory in Barcelona.
Today, Mitch Evans showed exactly why team principal and Formula One driver Mark Webber has faith in the New Zealander’s talent: after snatching pole position in this morning’s qualifying session, the sixteen year old rookie held his own for lights-to-flag win and offered MW Arden their first GP3 Series win, in front of James Calado and Tech 1’s Aaro Vainio.
Evans held onto the lead at the front of the grid when the lights went out despite pressure from the charging Tech 1 Racing pair of Andrea Caldarelli and Vainio. While the duo was fighting, Lotus ART’s Calado seized the opportunity to pass them for second spot, as Vainio snatched third spot from his teammate.
By the end of the first lap, Jenzer Motorsport’s Nico Müller had passed Series leader Nigel Melker for fifth, while Addax Team’s Dean Smith and tech 1 Racing’s Tamas Pal Kiss slotted into seventh and eighth respectively. Further down the grid, Vittorio Ghirelli had a first lap passing Atech CRS GP’s Nick Yelloly for ninth. Alexander Sims’s race came to an abrupt end when the Status GP driver clashed with Maxim Zimin – the Russian stopped out on track while Sims limped into the pits on lap four.
It was status quo at the front for the mid-section of the race, but behind, Status GP’s Antonio Felix Da Costa was locked in battle with MW Arden’s Lewis Williamson for thirteenth spot –Da Costa eventually prevailed and, to add insult to injury, Williamson was soon passed by Addax Team’s Gabby Chaves.
As the laps counted down, Evans had pulled out a 2.5 second lead over Calado, while the Tech 1 duo were a further five seconds down the road. As the chequered flag was in sight, Caldarelli became a man on a mission and pushed Vainio hard all the way to the line for the final podium spot. The young Finn soaked up the pressure like a seasoned pro and Caldarelli was unable to find a way past. Müller was right behind to take fifth ahead of Melker and Smith. Whilst Tech 1 Racing’s Pal Kiss gave the team even more reason to celebrate by taking eighth and reverse pole for tomorrow’s race, it was champagne and celebrations for Evans and MW Arden as the young Kiwi crossed the finish line a victor.
Race 1 result:
|1||26||M. EVANS||NZL||MW Arden||16||27:19.175|
|2||3||J. CALADO||GBR||Lotus ART||16||27:21.060||1.885|
|3||17||A. VAINIO||FIN||Tech 1 Racing||16||27:26.399||7.224|
|4||18||A. CALDARELLI||ITA||Tech 1 Racing||16||27:26.607||7.432|
|5||7||N. MULLER||SUI||Jenzer Motorsport||16||27:26.926||7.751|
|6||31||N. MELKER||NED||RSC Mucke Motorsport||16||27:27.749||8.574|
|7||25||D. SMITH||GBR||Addax Team||16||27:27.965||8.79|
|8||19||T. PAL KISS||HUN||Tech 1 Racing||16||27:29.503||10.328|
|9||9||V. GHIRELLI||ITA||Jenzer Motorsport||16||27:31.105||11.93|
|10||2||V. BOTTAS||FIN||Lotus ART||16||27:32.670||13.495|
|11||10||A. QUAIFE-HOBBS||GBR||Marussia Manor Racing||16||27:34.469||15.294|
|12||5||A. FELIX DA COSTA||POR||Status Grand Prix||16||27:39.486||20.311|
|13||24||G. CHAVES||COL||Addax Team||16||27:39.786||20.611|
|14||28||L. WILLIAMSON||GBR||MW Arden||16||27:40.405||21.23|
|15||1||P. NUNES||BRA||Lotus ART||16||27:43.246||24.071|
|16||22||Z. AMBERG||SUI||Atech CRS GP||16||27:45.696||26.521|
|17||6||I. LUKASHEVICH||RUS||Status Grand Prix||16||27:46.3||24.071|
|18||30||M. CHRISTENSEN||DEN||RSC Mucke Motorsport||16||27:46.945||27.77|
|19||12||M. LAINE||FIN||Marussia Manor Racing||16||27:51.957||32.782|
|20||11||R. HARYANTO||INA||Marussia Manor Racing||16||27:52.495||33.32|
|22||29||L. BACHETA||GBR||RSC Mucke Motorsport||16||27:56.633||37.458|
|25||21||N. YELLOLY||GBR||Atech CRS GP||16||28:08.912||49.737|
|26||20||M. STOCKINGER||PHI||Atech CRS GP||16||28:10.798||51.623|
|27||27||S. TRUMMER||SUI||MW Arden||15||27:35.638||1 LAP|
|23||D. STOREY||NZL||Addax Team||9||16:25.465||DNF|
|4||A. SIMS||GBR||Status Grand Prix||3||6:07.083||DNF|
|8||M. ZIMIN||RUS||Jenzer Motorsport||0||DNF|
|V. BOTTAS||FIN||Lotus ART||FASTEST LAP||1:41.633 ON LAP 6|