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Formula E Shanghai ePrix II

Da Costa: "Sneaky" radio messages to Andretti helped in Shanghai Formula E win

Antonio Felix da Costa says he sent “sneaky” radio messages en route to victory in the Shanghai E-Prix to “secretly tell” fellow Porsche powertrain user Norman Nato to work together.

Antonio Felix da Costa, Porsche, 1st position, celebrates in Parc Ferme

The Portuguese driver took a largely dominant win in the weekend’s second race at the Shanghai International Circuit, having led for the final 12 laps as he took his third on-the-road victory of the season.

Da Costa had taken the lead from Andretti’s Nato on the approach to Turn 1 after shadowing the Andretti driver and admitted post-race that he looked to work with the Porsche customer team.

“Managing my temperatures [was key], so there was a lot of communication with the team going back and forth,” said da Costa.

“At some point there was a sneaky radio message there as well which was more for Andretti, I was trying to secretly tell them what the game plan was and I think they understood.

“Me and Norman helped each other, he led for a while and then I took the lead after when I had enough energy to pull him with me.”

With temperatures in China well over 30C, and with the race distance one lap shorter than Saturday’s event, managing the thermal heat of the batteries became a critical element of the race.

But da Costa admitted that he suffered from no battery temperature issues having taken the decision to lead for as much as possible – heading the field for 14 of the 28 laps, with Nato leading 11 tours.

“I could see Jake [Hughes] trying to get clean air behind so he couldn’t actually use his slipstream anymore, so when I saw him starting to do that, I knew I was safer,” added da Costa.

Antonio Felix da Costa, Porsche, 1st position, Jake Hughes, McLaren, 2nd position, Norman Nato, Andretti Global, 3rd position, celebrate on the podium

Antonio Felix da Costa, Porsche, 1st position, Jake Hughes, McLaren, 2nd position, Norman Nato, Andretti Global, 3rd position, celebrate on the podium

Photo by: Sam Bagnall / Motorsport Images

Hughes had demoted Nato for second 10 laps from the end and finished in the runner-up position, which was the McLaren driver’s first podium in Formula E since making his debut last season.

Having started on pole in China, his fourth in only 27 races, Hughes stayed in the leading group throughout to record his first rostrum having come close on several occasions previously.

“It’s the biggest relief ever. Qualifying hasn’t been an issue but the races haven’t gone the way I wanted them to on the whole,” said the Briton.

“It feels like it’s 25, 26 races overdue, all the way back to my first race in Mexico last year when I should have got a podium.

“As much as I don’t want to say it or think like that, it feels like it’s been hanging over me for a while now and it’s just nice to tick that box.”

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