Antonio Felix da Costa narrowly missed out on what would have been a brilliant drive through the field to victory in only his second race for his new DS TECHEETAH team at the Antofagasta Minerals Santiago E-Prix.
Having qualified a disappointing 10th on the grid by his very high standards, the Portuguese quickly made amends when the race proper began, carving his way through the field with some brilliant overtakes that saw him pass Mitch Evans around the outside into Turn 9 and then Maximilian Guenther to lead the race until the final lap, when he had to back off due to battery temperature issues.
Unbelievable last lap drama!
— ABB Formula E (@FIAFormulaE) January 18, 2020
“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,” said da Costa afterward. “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.”
What a race yesterday. After a dificult qualy, the @DSTECHEETAH guys gave me an ansolute weapon to fight my way through. Its still a very new relationship between me and the team, but we are already sending it hard! It will only get better! Thanks guys pic.twitter.com/G2Xe1yppWm
— Antonio Felix da Costa (@afelixdacosta) January 20, 2020
It could have been even better still for the reigning champions, had Jean-Eric Vergne not been forced to retire with damage whilst in a podium position. Even so, team principal Mark Preston was understandably pleased with the result.
“We nearly had it all today, which would have been amazing to give DS on their 50th E-Prix but we’re very pleased with a second place,” added Preston. “If it’s one thing we know from the previous years is that it’s more beneficial to be safe and secure the points of a second place than going for the win on a gamble. Antonio has had a fantastic start with the team, and it was great to see our pace today. Seeing both of the guys up there fighting for the podium and wins before Jean-Éric’s retirement is what we race for.”