Just after the halfway point of the second race on the Brooklyn Street Circuit, Evans was battling with Mahindra’s Alexander Sims, who had just been cleared by Stoffel Vandoorne and was trying to keep hold of third.
Evans, meanwhile, had de Vries chasing him as the trio ran up to the Turn 10 hairpin, with Sims sealed to the inside line around the corner to force Evans on the outside.
De Vries then saw an opportunity and managed to dive down the inside of Evans, which resulted in a slight shoulder-barge with the Jaguar driver as the Dutchman also tapped Sims on the exit – which nearly put the Briton into a spin.
Recalling the incident, Evans reckoned that the move “wasn’t on” and disagreed with de Vries’s decision to make the pass.
“I think [Sims] had some battery temp or energy problems, so I got up to him and he was defending pretty hard to be honest,” Evans reflected. “It went on for a few corners and so I sort of struggled to get by straight away and then, once into Turn 10, he defended quite hard.
“Nyck decided to make a really late move on me and almost took out Alexander. It was just a stupid move. I know he was told to try and overtake me, but I just thought it was not on.”
Mitch Evans, Jaguar Racing, Jaguar I-TYPE 5
Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images
Evans then tried to recover the position lost to de Vries on the run to Turn 6, but hit a bump in the road and very nearly lost control – but instead pulled out an excellent save to keep the car out of the barriers – albeit some way down on the top four.
The New Zealander added that he felt he had the pace in his Jaguar machinery to win the race and reduce his 16-point disadvantage in the title race.
“I think we could have won today – I never say that lightly, we had a good car today,” Evans told Autosport.
“I hit the pothole on the back-straight on the braking zone, which I was really lucky to get away with, unlucky to hit it but to get away with it was very lucky.
“I shat myself, had huge flat spots, tried to gather it up and lost a lot of time and it took at least a few laps for everything to settle down again.
“Then it came back at the end again and obviously got Alexander. Honestly, I think today we could have won.”
De Vries hit the same bump twice, once while trying to pass Sims and the other occasion attempting to defend from a resurgent Sam Bird.
The reigning champion reckoned the race was altogether good, but his contact with the bump ended his chances of sticking with the lead pack.
“I’m disappointed I couldn’t give the team what they deserve,” said de Vries. “I think we should have been at least P4, but I just couldn’t get past Sims. When I went for the move, basically, the same happened to what Mitch tried on me earlier on.
“I wasn’t even aware of this bump, but there is this kind of compression, and as you hit it the wheels go off the ground and you lose control.
“Then I bent the steering and obviously I lost the pace I had earlier on.”
De Vries was investigated for the Turn 10 move and a separate incident after hitting the same bump, but was cleared of both infractions.
In the meantime, Nissan e.dams’ Maximilian Gunther was disqualified from the race for overconsuming energy after finishing 17th.