Mexico City E-Prix podium will increase BMW i Andretti's motivation - Antonio Felix da Costa
Antonio Felix da Costa believes that his second place finish at last weekend's Mexico City E-Prix will add to BMW i Andretti Motorsport's current motivation in the 2018/19 Formula E campaign.
In the Mexican capital, da Costa was the fastest runner of Group One qualifying, securing a place in the top-six Super Pole shootout before later powering his BMW iFE.18 to fifth on the grid.
At the start of the race, da Costa briefly dropped down to sixth position after being overtaken by Sebastien Buemi before reclaiming his starting spot by dispatching of Venturi's Felipe Massa by the end of the first lap.
Running in fifth place for the majority of the race, the Portuguese pilot and Ad Diriyah race winner jumped into third place in the closing stages, with the Nissan e.dams pair of Oliver Rowland and Buemi, who were running in third and fourth, miscalculating their energy usage which meant that they dropped down the field.
With race leader Pascal Wehrlein having to extensively manage his energy usage in the dying minutes of the E-Prix, da Costa inherited second place moments after the chequered flag was waved, with Wehrlein, who was overtaken by Lucas di Grassi at the line, being handed a five-second time penalty for corner cutting, handing da Costa 18 championship points.
“Ahead of the race weekend, I said that we need to give it our all here to pick up as many points as possible," said da Costa, who failed to finish the second and third races of the season in Marrakesh and Santiago.
"The fact that we managed second place will no doubt be great motivation for the entire team.
"I had a duel with Sébastien Buemi relatively early on in the race, during which I touched his car slightly.
"After that my steering was skewed, which naturally put me at something of a disadvantage, so I simply maintained my position after that and saved energy.
"As the end of the race drew near it became clear that some of the cars in front of me might start having problems, so I waited for my chance – and then took it. I’m delighted with the podium.”
Da Costa's team-mate, Alexander Sims, endured a difficult afternoon in Mexico City after becoming an innocent victim in a spectacular crash involving Nelson Piquet Jr and Jean-Eric Vergne, with the Brazilian driver flying over the top of the reigning champion's DS Techeetah car.
Skating down the track into Turn 14 without any steering after sustaining extensive front-end damage, Piquet collected Sims, causing the British driver to spin into the barriers and lose his front wing, later taking the chequered flag in a low-key 14th.
“It isn’t the result that we had hoped for but it was out of our hands," he said.
"After Nelson Piquet Jr. hit my car the team’s reaction was fantastic and they got me back out on track as quickly as possible after the repairs.
"The car wasn’t working as well after that but I could still gain valuable experience and data. Those are the positives from today’s race.”
Formula E's fifth season of competition will continue with the Hong Kong E-Prix on March 10.