Antonio Felix da Costa had been eagerly anticipating a 'special' race around the streets of Monaco, piling the pressure on himself to get a result to kickstart his title defence. The DS TECHEETAH driver delivered amid fierce competition, several lead changes and last lap drama.
Antonio Felix da Costa scooped the race win in Monaco and was the beneficiary, he says, of any number of factors on the way to a taking the lead from Jaguar Racing's Mitch Evans in stunning fashion, half way around the final lap.
Da Costa pounced with "one of the riskiest moves of his Formula E career" down at the New Nouvelle Chicane as Evans cut it fine on usable energy - the drivers at the sharp end having scrapped between themselves through six lead changes over the course of a storming E-Prix.
The result fired the Portuguese right into the title fight from mid-table in the standings, and approaching the half-way point of Season 7, he finds himself fourth - just 10 points back from new leader Robin Frijns (Envision Virgin Racing).
"So many things happened in the race to lead to that ending," said the reigning champion. "Mitch (Evans) lost a lot of time fighting with JEV (Jean-Eric Vergne) and I was able to get them both - that helped me a lot. Then, I was able to sit behind Robin (Frijns) while he was trying to break the tow. It all led to me being the lucky one in the end.
"How many lead changes did we have? That just doesn’t happen in any other racing series... I love racing these guys. We raced super hard but fair and there was always room – this is the way we like to do it."
"I knew the race was going to be so hard with the energy management and we played a perfect, perfect strategy. The team told me all the information I needed at just the right time. All the ATTACK MODE activations and everything else was played perfectly and how many lead changes did we have? That just doesn’t happen in any other racing series. It was one of the riskiest overtakes of my Formula E career.
"I knew I had a little bit more energy in my pocket and I was just forcing Mitch to use the energy he had left – I knew on the last lap he was really going to struggle. I pushed as much as I could from Sector 2 to be as close as I could get by the chicane.
"I’ve done a few of those and went straight on and didn’t pull the move off. I really left it all on the table there and I was like ‘oh my goodness’ we did this – it was amazing."
Da Costa said he'd been ramping up the pressure on himself in the week leading up to the Monaco E-Prix which took place for the first time in Formula E history on the full, historic layout.
It's a special race, and one any driver wants to win but with the competition so fierce in Formula E just now, combined with a bit of a disappointing start to his title defence by his own admission, Round 7 took on extra significance.
"Winning a race in Formula E this year is very tricky," said the 29-year-old. "I don’t think anybody has an edge. We all have a very good understanding of everything like managing energy, and that makes each race more challenging than the last.
"I put a lot of pressure on myself to win this race, especially having won the championship last year. We’ve been okay this year, nothing special and I really wanted it here – all week I’d been feeling that in my gut and to bring it home is amazing.
"I worked a lot mentally with my sports psychologist to take things step-by-step to get in the right mindset and come here and be successful."
Published on 10th May 2021