António Félix da Costa enjoyed a magnificent event in Hungary, becoming the first driver in GP3 history to win both races of the weekend. We tracked him down afterwards.
After a catastrophic weekend in Germany, Red Bull Junior Team driver Antonio Felix da Costa bounced back in the best way possible with a double victory in Hungary. He won from second on the grid on Saturday and by rights that should have been the end of his trophy collection. Starting from eighth on the reversed grid is a handicap at most venues, but with passing so difficult on the twisty Hungaroring, most drivers would have been happy with just making ground.
Da Costa, however, had other ideas, and with a little help from the weather was able to turn things around and win the sprint to the chequered flag – followed by possibly the highest podium leap of all time. He spoke to us when he came down.
RB: Congratulations António, that must be about as good as it gets.
AFDC: Hmmm… well we missed out on the four points for pole, so we can still do better. But we know qualifying is where we really struggle at the moment. We’re working hard to improve that part of our performance and I was happy to start from P2 on Saturday. Our race pace is really good and I knew I could win the race from there. And that’s what we did: we won the race and had the fastest lap; perfect. Good gap, really good pace.
Today was just trying to do the best we could, coming from P8 with the reverse grid, trying to go forward as much as possible. It was a tricky race, because when we started the track was wet. It was very hot and the sun was out, so we knew it would dry out. We had a really good strategy and it came out perfectly for us. We pitted on the exact right lap for slicks, and it paid out.
RB: But nevertheless, this isn’t an easy track on which to overtake…
AFDC: No, it isn’t. In fact it’s really, really tough to overtake on the Hungaroring. But we managed to pass some guys. I was just having fun today. I crossed the line and I couldn’t stop laughing. It was hilarious. It was really, really nice.
RB: Has changing teams upset your rhythm at all?
AFDC: No I don’t think so, because there isn’t much difference in the cars in GP3. Between all the cars there are only very minor differences so in theory you could win with three or four different teams. I think the difference is how you work with your engineers and how the team believes in you. I think it’s perfect here at Carlin. They’ve believed in me from day one – and I believe in them.
RB: And how’s life as the newest member of the Red Bull Junior Team?
AFDC: New! I’ve been in for a month, and done four races, or something like that, as a Red Bull Junior driver. We’re starting slowly. I’ll be moving to England soon and I hope I can get in the simulator at Red Bull Racing soon and do my best there. Hopefully there will be a chance to test the F1 car as well. But for now I’m focused on racing in GP3 and the World Series. WSR is completely new for me, by the way. I’ve had no testing in that car but I’m looking forward to it.
RB: Andy Damerun, Red Bull Racing’s Engineering Co-ordinator and simulator guru was down in Parc Fermé this morning to slap you on the back. What’s your connection with Andy?
AFDC: I’ve known Andy for two or three years because I was in the simulator, which Andy runs, a couple of times before joining the Junior Team. I think I did a good job in there and we have a good relationship. He’s been very supportive and it was really kind that he came down to cheer me – I’m sure he has plenty of important stuff to do Sunday morning before a grand prix!
RB: And what’s your next destination. Will you be meeting up with the rest of the Junior Team in August?
AFDC: I will. All of the Junior Team drivers are going to a training camp in Switzerland, so no summer holiday for me this year. But that’s good, it’s exactly what I need to do. If you’re a professional racing driver you need to keep fit now and be ready for whatever comes up – and that’s what I’ll be doing.