Antonio Felix da Costa: Lessons from midfield key to first DTM win

Antonio Felix da Costa says the lessons he learned buried in the DTM midfield last season were key to his maiden victory at Zandvoort

Antonio Felix da Costa: Lessons from midfield key to first DTM win

The Red Bull Formula 1 reserve made his debut in the series in 2014, and while he started with a string of strong early qualifying performances, he headed to the Dutch circuit last weekend with just two points finishes to his name and a best result of eighth at the Hungaroring last year.

As BMW dominated, making the most of favourable performance weights than the heavier Audi and Mercedes runners, da Costa was in the top three in every session in the Netherlands and took second on Saturday before breaking his duck on Sunday.

"Last year when I joined the DTM, everything felt really easy," he recalled after becoming the first Portuguese driver to win in the series.

"I was quick, the car was behaving well, and being at the front there's barely any issues.

"Then I struggled a little bit more for pace for the second half of the year and beginning of this year, and when you run at the back, you learn a lot more about the DTM.

"How to race the other guys, how to touch [other cars] and defend yourself, so I feel much more a DTM driver now than 12 months ago.

"I knew that coming back to a competitive place in the lead I would be much better prepared to look after the tyres and fight if I had to.

"Hopefully it's a big turnaround and we can keep going."

On Saturday, da Costa pressured reigning champion Marco Wittmann throughout the race, but with overtaking particularly difficult, he was not able to find a way past, settling for second in BMW's record sweep of the top seven.

However, that knowledge helped him keep Augusto Farfus at bay on Sunday, as he led an all-BMW top five from pole position.

"Saturday was a very good test, to be honest," he said post-race.

"I knew that being that close behind doesn't mean that it's going to be easy to overtake.

"So I never really defended into Turn 1, because I knew it was never going to be that straightforward.

"[Race one] was a really good practice."

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Zandvoort DTM: Antonio Felix da Costa gets first win in BMW sweep
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