Antonio Felix da Costa says Macau GP win the greatest of his career
|By Matt Beer||Monday, November 19th 2012, 09:33 GMT|
Macau Grand Prix winner Antonio Felix da Costa described his victory in Formula 3's premier event as the greatest of his career so far.
Da Costa stepped back to F3 with his GP3 squad Carlin for the event, and took a relatively straightforward win from pole position after also claiming Saturday's qualification race.
The win crowned an incredible second half of the 2012 season for the 21-year-old from Portugal. Da Costa brought himself into GP3 title contention, ultimately claiming third in the standings, with a string of late wins and podiums, while simultaneously competing in Formula Renault 3.5 after replacing Lewis Williamson at Arden Caterham.
Despite missing the first five races of the year, da Costa surged to fourth in FR3.5 by winning four of the final five rounds.
But he said Macau dwarfed all those achievements.
"This victory is the biggest in my career to date," said da Costa. "Of course I'm also very proud of being the first Red Bull driver to win in Macau.
"I'm tremendously proud of this great achievement in such an important race. It just has been a perfect weekend which I'll remember for a very, very long time.
"Winning here is incredible. I was at the limit all the time, I drove 15 laps almost without any mistakes and now, I am incredibly happy."
Da Costa's 2012 form has also seen him move up the Red Bull junior pecking order, and he tested for its Formula 1 team in the Abu Dhabi young driver test.
His GP3 and F3 team boss Trevor Carlin said da Costa's handling of the Macau lead battle with Felix Rosenqvist showed his star quality.
"Antonio had a strategy ahead of the race, which was to let Felix take the lead off the line if it looked close, rather than risk his car, and then take the lead back at Lisboa," said Carlin. "He read the situation perfectly as that's exactly what happened.
"He hasn't put a foot wrong all weekend, and thoroughly deserves all the opportunities he's getting at the moment."