Antonio Felix da Costa has said that he and his team need to ‘sort out’ qualifying in order to make their lives easier in the race.
The Portuguese driver started in sixteenth place on the grid after going out on a dirty track in group one in qualifying, with team-mate Tom Blomqvist in eighteenth after brushing the wall on his fast lap.
Despite his poor position da Costa was able to make his way through the field to finish in ninth place, something he credited to the strong race pace of the MS&AD Andretti car.
And he says the team have the potential to achieve some strong results if they manage to improve their performance in qualifying.
Da Costa said, “We were a little bit unlucky to qualify in Group 1 but that’s the way it is, sometimes you get better draws than other times.
“The track conditions were not easy and it was hard to put a lap together so we qualified 16th. I had a really bad first lap [in the race], I got stuck behind the two guys that crashed out but from then onwards I had really good pace in the race moving forward.
“The car was feeling good and we climbed up to score some points. We just need to sort ourselves out better in qualifying and make our lives easier in the race but I think we have some potential on race pace.”
Team-mate Blomqvist agreed with da Costa’s summary, saying that he could have done far better had he started further up the grid.
He was confident that he would be able to get on top of his problems though, saying that he could unlock more pace in the car.
“I stayed out of trouble and finished eleventh,” Blomqvist said afterwards. “I could have done a bit better to have a clean qualifying and we wouldn’t have had to start 18th but I just need to slowly get the hang of it.
“I know I can find more pace out of myself, out of the car and out of the package, and fight more for better positions than we are getting at the moment. I’m going to need to do some work to improve there.
“It’s a learning process at the moment but I’m enjoying it. I had a clean race, stayed out of trouble and just missed out on the points.”
Andretti are currently in seventh in the team’s standings, with fewer than half the number of points of Venturi above them.