Antonio Felix da Costa: 'We still have work to do' despite Ad Diriyah win
Despite winning the opening round of the 2018/19 Formula E season, Antonio Felix da Costa believes that both himself and BMW i Andretti Motorsport "still have work to do".
At the inaugural Ad Diriyah E-Prix, da Costa ended a 38-race long losing streak by standing on the top step of the podium, triumphing over DS Techeetah's Jean-Eric Vergne in the desert.
Starting from pole position, da Costa held a dominant lead for the first 19 minutes of racing, dropping down to second place after being overtaken by Vergne up the inside of Turn 18.
Later coming under threat from Andre Lotterer in the second DS Techeetah car, da Costa soon dropped back to third before a penalty for the two Franco-Chinese machines in front allowed the Portuguese racer to retake first position.
Opening up a lead of over seven seconds, this was slashed following the deployment of a late-race safety car after Jose Maria Lopez parked his GEOX Dragon Penske EV-3 car on the racing surface with suspension damage.
Using his final Attack Mode and FanBoost, da Costa held off Vergne who was able to fight back through the field following his penalty, winning by 0.462s.
“That’s a great day for me, BMW and the whole team," said da Costa. "Thank you to everybody!"
"I’m delighted – for me, that I’m back at the top of the podium again after such a long time, but primarily for the team. We have always had the same goal, to get to this point. And each of us gave it our all.
"Days like this make it clear: It’s worth all the effort! Many thanks to everyone who played their part in this win. But we still have a lot of work to do.
"Jean-Eric Vergne was incredibly fast, it was really close at the end, my heart rate went through the roof. But in the end, I did enough.”
Da Costa's BMW team-mate and Formula E rookie Alexander Sims, racing in Ad Diriyah marked a difficult debut, however, after running comfortably inside the top 10 before becoming the victim of two penalties, the Briton left the opening round with optimism for future races:
"My first Formula E weekend was a big challenge and I learned a great deal," he said.
"Antonio did a fantastic job with pole position and the win and showed how fast our car is.
"After a difficult qualifying session, I was actually doing quite well in the race in eighth place, but then two penalties unfortunately pushed me right down the field.
"Despite this, the weekend has made me optimistic for the upcoming races.”
After the opening round of the season, BMW i Andretti Motorsport sits in second place in the Teams' Championship, 1 point behind DS Techeetah while da Costa currently leads the Drivers' Standings with 28 points.
Formula E next heads to Morocco for the Marrakesh E-Prix on January 12.