Find out more about our subscriptions

Antonio Felix da Costa reveals stuck throttle fear after claiming Macau front row spot

Antonio Felix da Costa, Hitech, Macau 2011Antonio Felix da Costa has revealed that he suffered stuck throttle dramas on the way to his surprise front row start for the Macau Grand Prix qualification race.

The Hitech Racing driver bounced back from a crash in free practice to deliver the third quickest time in qualifying, but will start from second thanks to Roberto Merhi's penalty for causing a collision on Thursday.

Although delighted at the result, da Costa revealed that qualifying had not been easy for him because his throttle kept jamming open - which left him nervous about crashing.

"Already yesterday wasn't a good day for us, and we were a bit stressed for qualifying because we thought it might rain today as well," explained the Portuguese driver.

"Today I had to step up a little bit and challenge the frontrunners. But I tried a little bit too much because I crashed on the first lap of practice, and without any dry running so far until this morning it looked very bad.

"I wasn't feeling confident at all for this qualifying, and then when coming out of the pit my throttle got stuck open and I lost a little bit of time. I came in and went back out and it got stuck again, so I was never sure if I was going to go into Lisboa with a stuck throttle and maybe crash flat out in the barriers. So, to be honest, I wasn't really confident and I was stressing in the car a little bit.

"But I thought I had to get a good lap time. So with the second set of tyres I went for it and okay, I was really surprised with P3, P2 with the penalty with Roberto. I am happy, the team did a really good job and the car was okay straight away. With Hitech, I think we are surprising everyone."

Da Costa knows that starting second in Macau can often be the best place for the race - because of the long run down to Lisboa corner and the benefit of a good tow.

However, he thinks it important to simply be near the front for Sunday's race, rather than worry about winning the qualification event on Saturday.

"The first race, everyone will take it easy," he said. "It is not the race for the final position, so I will bring it home, in a good position obviously. If I can win I will win. If not, we will be near the front for Sunday."

British GP competition
  More news  
Read the AUTOSPORT Digital Edition
Visit the shop
See highlights from 60 years of AUTOSPORT
Juncadella wants GP2 switch
Magnussen: I'm lucky to be alive
Wittmann feels robbed of victory
Nasr rues lack of dry running
Juncadella stunned to win Macau
Juncadella takes Macau GP victory
Merhi: Third ideal place to start
Nasr wants more speed in city
Wittmann taking nothing for granted
Sims: Out-lap crash blew win shot
Wittmann wins qualification race
Bottas relieved weather changed
Merhi sure he can win from eighth
Macau issues F3 grid after penalties
Wittmann confident of winning pace
Wittmann flies to Macau pole
Juncadella gets grid penalty
One of Merhi's penalties dropped
Wittmann fastest in chaotic practice
Merhi handed another penalty
Bottas hoping for improved weather
Merhi says penalty not a disaster
Merhi hit with penalty in Macau
Merhi tops qualifying then crashes
Wittmann leads wet Macau practice