Antonio Felix da Costa says he never doubted his ability to win in the DTM after finally achieving a maiden victory in the tin-top series last weekend at Zandvoort.
The former Red Bull junior triumphed in Sunday’s second race at the Dutch circuit, withstanding race-long pressure from BMW teammate Augusto Farfus to seal his first win since joining the championship at the start of last season.
Da Costa’s best DTM result prior to the Zandvoort weekend had been an eighth place in Hungary last year, but despite a tough learning period in the series he always maintained that winning would be possible once everything came together.
I never doubted that I could lead and win races if everything was in place. That was finally the case here.
Antonio Felix da Costa
“When I arrived in DTM a year and a half ago, everything seemed simple,” recalled the Portuguese driver.
“The car was superb, BMW was very strong, and I could immediately fight for the top places.
“But then I encountered some problems. I started to have trouble finding the right set-up for the car, which meant I couldn't show BMW or the DTM what I was capable of.
“I never doubted that I could lead and win races if everything was in place. That was finally the case here, I kept my promise and proved that I could win.”
Da Costa, who remains involved in Red Bull’s Formula 1 programme as a test driver, added that his struggles during last season were a necessary part of his development, and that he is now a better driver as a result.
“The second half of 2014 was very difficult, but during the winter, I made a step and I really analysed my situation closely,” said the 23-year-old.
“My battles in the pack, and all the difficult races, have made me a better DTM driver. It's an experience you have to go through to be able to get stronger.”