Da Costa wins stunning Riyadh race

Antonio Felix da Costa won and incredible season opener in Ad Diriyah after taking his first pole position earlier in the day.

However it could’ve gone wrong very early on for the Portuguese racer as he missed his grid spot and had to reverse and was still rather out of position when the lights went out meant he maintained the lead.

Edoardo Mortara hadn’t made a minute before he ended up in the wall with a brake failure, however recovered back to the pits where the car was fixed and finished a lap down.

On Lap 8, reigning champion, Jean Eric Vergne started to show his speed by cleanly passing Buemi round the outside into turn 18, the Frenchman would go onto overtake Da Costa five laps later.

Buemi continued to lose places to Vergne’s teammate, Lotterer, and got involved in a five lap battle with D’Ambrosio and Lopez, both getting past the Swiss racer eventually.

A round of penalties were then handed out including both Techeetah’s in first and third, Felipe Massa and Alexander Sims due to energy overuse. Vergne would emerge in fifth and Lotterer in seventh.

This meant that Da Costa retook the lead, with Lopez and D’Ambrosio on the podium, however Lopez fell from second to fifth are trying on two attempts to gain the Attack Mode, missing the zone on both occasions, he wouldn’t have another attempt as he hit the wall on the following lap ending his race.

The Full Course Yellow then Safety Car was brought out to move the sticken Dragon car, which then bunched the field up. The field was then released with just under four minutes and a lap left of the race which meant that most of the field used it as a chance to gain their last Attack Mode.

Vergne, now back in third pounced on D’Ambrosio, who didn’t have Attack Mode and set his sights on beating Da Costa and came very close to the win with just four tenths of a second separating the top two over the line.

Action resumes on January 12th in Marakesh.

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