In an action-packed race, Da Costa rose from 10th on the grid to lead on lap 37 of 40 after a robust overtake on his BMW Andretti replacement Maximilian Gunther, only to be repassed with just three corners to go. He eventually crossed the line more than two seconds adrift of first-time FE victor Gunther after reaching a critical battery temperature aboard his E-TENSE FE20 in the dying moments of a scorching race in Chilean capital.
In the post-race press conference, da Costa suggested that the battery temperature issue was a sudden surprise owing to misinformation over team radio.
“I think I was being fed either not the complete or slightly wrong information because I was being told I was good on temperatures, even though I was saying ‘I don't think I am’,” he said. “And yet, the moment I got the lead, they tell me, ‘OK, you have to slow down’. It all came down to the last lap, but these guys [BMW] just managed it better.
Da Costa explained further his sudden slowing down to Motorsport.com, saying: “Energy [levels] were good. I could have gone like almost flat out in those last three corners... I was catching [Gunter], I could have carried on that pace, which was amazing.
“In the end, it all came down to [battery] temperature.
“I had to basically just back off a lot and make sure I arrived. Obviously, it hurts when you have a sniff of the win like that, especially coming from the back.”
Antonio Felix da Costa, DS Techeetah after the podium
Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images