Da Costa takes first Formula E win
Da Costa takes first Formula E win
Anybody who had the preconception that electric racing would be dull and uninteresting had those beliefs shattered in Argentina today with Antonio Felix da Costa claiming his first FIA Formula E win in dramatic circumstances.
The Portuguese driver clinched victory in an action-packed Buenos Aires ePrix ahead of e.dams-Renault’s Nicolas Prost and China Racing’s Nelson Piquet Jr.
The Amlin Aguri driver kept clear of trouble and slowly made his way into the lead as his rivals fell by the wayside. Both polesitter Sebastien Buemi and championship leader Lucas di Grassi retired after crashing at the fast Turn 8 and 9 chicane.
Venturi’s Nick Heidfeld looked favorite to win in the closing stages but a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pitlane scuppered his chances.
Da Costa, who missed the opening round in Beijing, progressed up the field from eighth on the grid to collect the full 25 points.
“I’m really happy!” he said.
“I knew we had the pace this weekend and, starting the race, I felt really good. We’ve worked hard to get here, and it’s been a great job from all the team. Now we need to keep on working hard to maintain this form.”
Prost managed to steer clear of the battle between Daniel Abt and Jaime Alguersuari in the closing stages, an over-optimistic move by the Audi Sport ABT driver sent the Spaniard into a spin. Abt was out on the spot but Alguersuari managed to limp his car home in fourth.
Piquet picked up his second consecutive podium despite being held behind the red light and losing a lap in the pitlane during the safety car period.
The Qualcomm Safety Car was deployed after Mahindra Racing’s Karun Chandhok also fell victim to broken rear suspension at the Turn 8 and 9 chicane. Piquet wasn’t the only driver to be effected by the confusion as a number of drivers had to pass the safety car to unlap themselves.
Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird was part of the lead group but he picked up a drive-through penalty for ignoring the pit exit lights.
Bruno Senna, who was one of the FanBoost winners, finished fifth ahead of a feisty Jean-Eric Vergne who damaged his nosecone in the fight for the final podium spot.
Da Costa’s team-mate Salvador Duran clinched four points in eighth ahead of Heidfeld in ninth. Dragon Racing’s Oriol Servia rounded out the top-10 positions while Formula E debutant Marco Andretti came home in 13th place.
Before the race all the drivers, teams and the Formula E Championship together with the City of Buenos Aires, Argentinean authorities and the FIA President Jean Todt gathered on the grid for a minute silence to pay respect to the victims of the dramatic terrorist attack which happened in Paris earlier this week.
Fans can relive the action on Sunday, January 11 when the race is replayed on FOX Sports 1.
The next stop on the FIA Formula E calendar will be the USA. The series will race on the streets of Miami on March 14 followed by Long Beach on April 4.
FIA Formula E Championship – Buenos Aires ePrix (Rd 4) – Race results:
1. Antonio Felix da Costa, Amlin Aguri, 48:52.100
2. Nicolas Prost, e.dams-Renault, +5.354s
3. Nelson Piquet Jr, China Racing, +8.552s
4. Jaime Alguersuari, Virgin Racing, +11.148s
5. Bruno Senna, Mahindra Racing, +11.535s
6. Jean-Eric Vergne, Andretti, +13.319s
7. Sam Bird, Virgin Racing, +13.617s
8. Salvador Duran, Amlin Aguri, +14.724s
9. Nick Heidfeld, Venturi, +15.464s
10. Oriol Servia, Dragon Racing, +19.334s
11. Stephane Sarrazin, Venturi, +28.973s
12. Ho-Pin Tung, China Racing, +37.858s
13. Marco Andretti, Andretti, +1 lap
14. Daniel Abt, Audi Sport ABT, +2 laps
15. Jerome d’Ambrosio, Dragon Racing, +2 laps
16. Jarno Trulli, Trulli, DNF
17. Lucas di Grassi, Audi Sport ABT, DNF
18. Sebastien Buemi, e.dams-Renault, DNF
19. Michela Cerruti, Trulli, DNF
20. Karun Chandhok, Mahindra Racing, DNF
Lucas di Grassi – 58
Sam Bird – 48
Sebastien Buemi – 43
Nicolas Prost – 42
Nelson Piquet Jr – 37
Antonio Felix da Costa – 29
Jaime Alguersuari – 26
Jerome D’Ambrosio – 22
Franck Montagny – 18
Karun Chandhok – 18
e.dams-Renault – 85
Virgin Racing – 74
Audi Sport ABT – 62
Andretti – 41
China Racing – 37
Dragon Racing – 37
Mahindra Racing – 36
Amlin Aguri – 35
Trulli – 12
Venturi – 5