António Félix da Costa had a dramatic Renault 3.5 Race 2 at the Moscow Raceway on Sunday, getting up as high as 6th from his 21st start position but finally ending up 15th in a race won by Arthur Pic (FRA - Dams).
It was Race 7 in the series and the morning qualifying did not go well for the 20 year old Portuguese in the Arden Caterham. He had finished 7th in Saturday's race and had hoped to improve. "The race setup just wasn't right yesterday, we simply weren't fast enough. We had made several changes to the setup for today's race – but those proved to be a step backwards in qualifying. P21 is a big disappointment, of course," he commented after the morning session.
The team altered the set-up again for the race but he was on the 11th row for the 44 minute plus one lap race with the mandatory Sunday race pit stop. Jules Bianchi (FRA - Tech 1 Racing), who is the closest pursuer of the new points leader Robin Frijns (NED - Fortec Motorsports), started from pole.
A multi-car accident happened immediately after the start which also involved several top drivers including Sörensen, Bird, Müller and Ramos. The safety car had to take to the track, and stayed out for no less than 5 laps, 20 minutes.
Félix da Costa had kept out of the initial chaos beside a small collision with Bianchi and was already running 9th behind the safety car, 12 places better than he started.
After the restart on lap 6 Pic moved into the lead, followed by Nick Yelloly (GBR - Comtec Racing) and Kevin Korjus (EST - Tech 1 Racing). Felix da Costa was running in 9th behind championship leader Frijns. The Red Bull Junior then started off the series of pit-stops and was the first driver to take on new rear tyres.
After the pit-stops the order for the final 10 minutes emerged: Pic ahead of Walter Grubmüller (AUT - P1 Motorsport) and André Negrão (BRA - International Draco Racing)!
Felix da Costa was immediately behind his Arden team-mate Alexander Rossi (USA) in 6th place. But then race control brought the Portuguese onto pit lane for a drive-through penalty and he was dropped to P15. The reason; his collision with Bianchi in lap 1.
Pic won ahead of Grubmüller and Korjus.
Felix da Costa: “P6 with 3 laps to go and I had a drive through because I had contact with Bianchi in lap 1! The car felt better today and we found a good direction to follow, we still have to improve to be competitive.”