Da Costa’s sensational double move
The season six champion will surely count this among his greatest victories – in any category of motorsport. He’d already climbed into the top three from his lowly grid slot by lap 20 and was second to leader Nick Cassidy when a full course yellow was called a lap later. Da Costa then stalked the Kiwi and on lap 24 surprised everyone – including the leader – by pulling off an audacious move at the Turn Seven, Eight and Nine sweeps. He was up on the outside through T7, which gave him the inside for T8 and held the position on the brakes into T9. You won’t see a better pass. Until he did it again, that is.
Da Costa appeared well set when he took his second dose of Attack Mode and retained the lead, now ahead of DS Penske’s Jean-Éric Vergne. But disaster: he missed the activation zone for the 50kW power boost and was forced to try again, this time losing the lead to his former team-mate. The laps were running out when in the first of two extras added for safety car interruptions he pulled precisely the same pass on Vergne as he had on Cassidy. At high speed, on a sequence that really didn’t look like a passing place, da Costa clearly caught Vergne by surprise, then held off the Frenchman to claim a famous win.
“I knew it was going to be a strategic one,” da Costa explained. “I’ve done this before where you have to give that lead away and plan a late move in the race. The energy was playing a big part, and so following was a bit of an advantage. I wanted to be behind him [Vergne] for a few laps to build that energy advantage and use it, but I know leaving it late is always a risk and JEV is a very hard guy to overtake. I thought I was gone for a moment there [on the brakes] into T9! But it’s good to race him on a day like this.”