DS TECHEETAH's Antonio Felix Da Costa secured his first win of the season in the New York City E-Prix Round 12 and the Portuguese spoke to fiaformulae.com, along with new championship leader Stoffel Vandoorne of Mercedes EQ and Jaguar TCS Racing's Mitch Evans.
Antonio Felix Da Costa, DS TECHEETAH
"I feel great. We've been building up to this result. It was a slow start to the year, but I think since Monaco we've picked up some race pace, and after that, started picking up some quali pace - we've been qualifying in the top three or four for the last five or six races.
"I wasn't 100% sure about my pace in the race. I knew we had decent pace, looking at yesterday's race, but these guys are so quick right now and everyone's so close to the limit that you need perfect driving, with no mistakes, and that's so hard to do. These guys kept me so honest the whole way - I was actually super knackered and breathless at the end.
"It wasn't easy at all. Today was not only about energy, it was also about battery temperature. Half way through the race, it's better to go a little bit safe on a few settings that we have in the car to try and save our temperatures, not really our energy, and obviously you compromise pace a little bit, so it was hard, because I had these guys super close. I had to have an eye looking forwards and an eye looking behind, and that takes a lot out of you.
"At the end I was actually pretty safe. The team did a great job managing all that - during the last three or four laps, I knew that if I made no mistakes, we had it. I could see that Stoff got close when he used his FANBOOST, but he wasn't close enough. After that, I could see his performance dropped a little bit and I just had to bring it home. The track picked up so much grip in the first sector that if you put a wheel off line, it was game over, as we saw with Mitch when he went wide, so I just kept it clean.
"I don't think we have the fastest package at the moment, but we got lucky - these guys were involved in a few fights and I could just do my own race. I didn't have to fight with anyone all the way through, and that obviously helped me out a lot.
"It's a little bit late unfortunately for my season, but I'm just having fun now and trying to get a few more of these [wins]. I just jumped in the river - I thought about going straight to dinner, straight to Manhattan, but didn't want to leave you guys hanging!"
Stoffel Vandoorne, Mercedes EQ
"It was a good race, considering what happened yesterday with the big crash to finish race one and the team having to basically rebuild a brand new car for today. Today's result definitely goes to them, because they gave me a car where everything felt completely fine from FP3 this morning, and then we could just build on it.
"We had a decent qualifying at P5, had a very good start to the race, got ourselves into third and then had to make a move on Sims to try and get into P2. It was hard, because I maybe had a touch more pace than Antonio, but there were a couple of corners where I couldn't quite hook the car up and where Antonio was very fast. I just missed that little bit to get close enough to really attempt an overtake, especially on a day like today. It was very important to get P2 on the board and get a lot of points. It's been a good weekend overall for me.
"Four races to go. Like Antonio just said, it's getting so, so close now between everybody, that the moment you don't get the car together. You can't have any off days anymore, because you're just going to be at the back. The racing is getting so intense every weekend, every qualifying session, every race, even every practice, you need to be on it in order to deliver a result. That's what I'm aiming to continue until the end of the year, and then we'll see if it's good or not good enough."
Mitch Evans, Jaguar TCS Racing
"It was pretty eventful. I started P6 on the dirty side and lost position - actually, I probably held position: I lost to Dennis, but obviously Andre had his start problem. I just got into a rhythm, was good, started to pick off a few guys like Sette [Camara] and Jake [Dennis], and I was just trying to build myself up to the front guys.
"I knew Nyck [De Vries] was going to be hard to overtake, with Stoffel fighting for the Championship, but we managed to get it done - he was struggling for pace. Then I was sort of chipping away at Sims - I think he had some battery temp or energy problems - got up to him and he was defending pretty hard to be honest, into a few corners, so I struggled to get by straight away.
"Once into Turn 10, he defended quite hard, and Nyck decided to make a really late move on me and almost took out Alexander. For me, it was just a stupid move - I know he was told to try and overtake me, but I just thought it was not on. I lost position to him, went to try and regain it down the straight, hit this pothole and completely lost the car and flat-spotted the tyres. I thought I was going to be out of the race, to be honest. There was some damage, but I didn't lose too much ground and then got back on track and managed to get Alexander.
"Honesty, I think I had the car to win today. The car was super quick - huge credit to the guys. It would have been really cool to fight these guys, to be honest, but it didn't happen, unfortunately.
"The car's been feeling quick all weekend. Yesterday we just got caught out by circumstance, with the rain and the red flag, so to get some points today was really critical. To start in P6 was decent, not ideal, but to recover was really good. The team did a great job today, so roll on the last four races - I'm up for it, let's see what we've got."