Picking his battles helped da Costa avoid Berlin mayhem

After having his first win of the season taken away by a post-race ruling, Antonio Felix da Costa finally got a victory for keeps in the second half of the Berlin E-Prix. Although this one, too, came with a post-race scare when the stewards noted an “error in the identification number of declared equipment” on the winning car.

Thankfully the only penalty this time was a 1,000 Euro fine to be paid within 48 hours, meaning that while da Costa and Porsche’s win absolutely stands this time around, they’ll have a little less to put behind the bar when they celebrate tonight.

The TAG Heuer Porsche driver survived a race where contact was a significant ingredient to win by over six tenths from Jaguar’s Nick Cassidy and he says that it was him choosing his battles wisely that enabled him to emerge not just victorious, but unscathed too.


“I think if you treat the others well, they treat you well back. I see a lot of drivers around me hitting each other and then they get it right back, and rightly so,” he told RACER. “People are trying to stand their ground, but I always try and be fair.

“My car had zero scratches on it, which is quite impressive after a race like that. I’m very lucky to race against very experienced and respectful drivers so I know if you give some you get some.”

The victory was da Costa’s second for Porsche, and first for over a year and comes after a huge amount of what he says is “hard work” to get him back on track after a tough start to the season where he had three straight races without registering a point while his teammate Pascal Wehrlien started the campaign off as a winner.

“I would say Pascal still has a little edge on me over one lap — he’s driving the package really well,” he said. “I’m still struggling to find the right balance; we want different balances from the race car, and that’s the work that’s been ongoing.

“We have done steps — I think it’s been seven duels this year where I’ve missed out in P5 by a few hundredths, so we have made steps but we do need to still find a bit of pace. Then again, in some of these races it doesn’t really matter where you qualify, but still you want to show the world and your team that you are the quickest driver.”

Case in point, da Costa (like Saturday winner Nick Cassidy) was victorious despite qualifying 10th, and with two of the remaining three doubleheader events being held on tracks expecting to throw up similar “peloton-style” races, he’s optimistic about the rest of the season although he admits that with Wehlein in a better position in the points, he’ll be the focal point for Porsche.

“We seem to do well in these types of races, but (we’ve) still got Pascal up there and I think at the moment that’s the big push from us,” he said. “If we do get the win back from Misano, maybe — that’s being contested — but I’m not really thinking that. I think you could see these guys, how they raced me and how they raced each other, they were kind of happy to let me go and not get involved in the mix.

“I’ve a little bit less to lose right now — wins are more important to me than finishing fifth or sixth. Let’s see, it’s still a long season but to be fully honest the championship’s not really on my mind.”

“I think if you treat the others well, they treat you well back,” says da Costa, here leading TAG Heuer Porsche teammate Pascal Wehrlein. Dom Romney/Motorsport Images

As he alluded to, da Costa’s removed victory from the first Misano race — when his No. 13 Porsche was disqualified for having an “illegal throttle damper spring” fitted — remains subject to appeal, and while recovering that would change his outlook on his own championship hopes, he says he’s willing to play rear-gunner for Wehrlein should he need to.

“At the moment the goal is I’d really like to win the teams’ championship — it’s a tough battle with Jaguar at the moment. Obviously Pascal is still very much up there in the championship so I think that’s our goal as team.

“I’m happy to help, happy to give up places for Pascal to score a few extra points but I still want to race for myself if the opportunity is there. Today, this happened perfectly and I’m happy with that.”

Story originally appeared on Racer