Da Costa thought win possible without ‘mistake’ on energy

by Scott Douglas

Antonio Felix da Costa said that victory should have been his in Santiago after he felt he and DS Techeetah team made a mistake on his energy usage.

While chasing down race leader Maximilian Gunther, da Costa was told by his engineer that he could push hard in order to catch and pass the BMW i Andretti Motorsport driver.

The Portuguese did just that, catching him quickly and lunging past him into turn 10 shortly afterwards.

However the rate at which he had caught Gunther led to the battery on his Techeetah overheating, and da Costa was forced to slow immediately afterwards, eventually being passed on the very last lap into turn 10.

And although happy to have scored his first podium for the team, da Costa felt that had he caught Gunther more gradually then he could have been one step higher on the podium.

“It’s great to have a first podium and to fight for a win with my new team already when we are only three races in,” he said afterwards.

“We’ve still got some work to do because that should have been our win today but we’re still a new team and we’ve still got some things to get on top of.

“We made a mistake with the energy today and I thought we were good to go, so I overtook for the lead of the race but had to slow down pretty quickly after to manage the temperature. In the end, it’s better to finish second and get the points than not finishing the race at all.”

World champion team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne endured another tough race this season as he retired after damaging his front wing.

It leaves him on just four points after the first three races, but the Frenchman was optimistic despite this.

In the first three laps it’s always a bit of a bunch up of the cars and I damaged my front wing, and towards the end of the race it eventually broke when I was running in 3rd so I had to retire the car,” he said afterwards.

“We had great pace and good energy, so I had a good shot at winning today. Nevertheless, I’m very proud of my team because we were really quick today and I think that’s a positive to take with us.

“Only three races and four points but I have an amazing team around me, and the motivation is very high.”

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