Mitch Evans qualified on GP3 pole for MW Arden’s home race at Silverstone, but led for only a fraction of the afternoon. The 18-year-old New Zealander made a fantastic start, but rival Antonio Felix da Costa (Carlin) sliced ahead through the opening sequence of corners and the top two remained unchanged thereafter.
The race took place in slippery conditions and Evans’s team-mate Matias Laine ran strongly in the early stages, holding on to fifth place before sliding gently down the order. He eventually crossed the line in ninth position.
Third MW Arden driver David Fumanelli was due to start 11th – after picking up a two-position penalty for ignoring the chequered flag at the end of qualifying – but was given compassionate leave to fly home, a member of his immediate family having been taken seriously ill.
Mitch Evans :
“The track was very slippery during free practice and I took great care not to pick up any penalties for ignoring yellow flags – and there were lots of those. My pace was pretty good, though, and I was happy with the car, which seemed better than it did at Silverstone last season. I felt pretty good going into qualifying, when conditions were again tricky. The racing line was essentially dry, but there were some damp patches that required caution. My sector times were pretty good and I was third fastest on my first run – despite hitting a bit of traffic. I knew there was more to come, so we didn’t touch the car. I didn’t get a clear lap at the start of my second run, so backed off to give myself some room and the next lap was good enough for pole.
“The circuit was half-wet, half-dry when the race began and I knew things wouldn’t be easy. I decided to race on a set of used slicks because I expected these to warm up more effectively on what I assumed was quite a cool track surface. My start was OK, but I was cautious into Turn One and Antonio Felix da Costa attacked into Turn Three. I had to be careful because he was on the drier outside line and I had to defend on the slippery side. We stayed pretty close for a couple of corners, but he was ahead and I spent the first half of the race trying to pressure him into an error. He didn’t make one, though, and had started on new tyres – that proved to be decisive in the second phase of the race, when mine began to fade a little. After that I just concentrated on holding second and that enabled me to increase my championship lead. We also have some new tyres left, so I hope it’s dry in race two: I’d quite like to use them...”
Matias Laine :
“I had a few balance problems during free practice, but generally things felt OK. Afterwards, however, we found a broken part on the car. Once we’d replaced it I decided to leave the basic set-up unchanged for qualifying, which turned out to be my best session of the year. I have definitely made progress since Barcelona and was pleased with the way I drove, although a small mistake at Turn 13 cost me a couple of tenths. But for that I’m sure I could have put the car on the front row, alongside Mitch – and perhaps even ahead of him! My first run had been spoiled by yellow flags, so I had only one shot and think I made the most of it.
“I started on the damper side of the track, which was a definite disadvantage, but didn’t get away too badly in the circumstances. I was side by side with Daniel Abt into the first corner, but he turned into me and the balance of the car was clearly affected because I couldn’t keep pace with the guys ahead and slipped back to ninth. The result might have been a bit of a disaster, but I know the car is really quick so I’m looking to move in the opposite direction tomorrow.”
Source: MW Arden