Antonio Felix da CostaAntonio Felix da Costa strengthened his position in the climax to this year’s GP3 Series, with an impressive fight back to second place in race two of the weekend this morning. The Carlin driver put in a series of impressive overtaking moves to finish ahead of the championship leaders, as did his team mates William Buller and Alex Brundle to climb up to eighth and 11th places respectively.

Starting from seventh on the grid, da Costa made a good start off the line but was blocked by several other cars as the field thundered into La Source. The Portuguese racer wisely stayed out of trouble and bided his time.

After the first half of lap one saw several of the leaders clash, da Costa was able to storm through to fifth place, just behind fourth place man and championship leader Mitch Evans. Buller meanwhile had climbed up to P11, while Brundle was 18th.

At the front da Costa and Evans were closer than ever, but the two made contact which allowed sixth placed man Fontana to close in and put da Costa under pressure. The Carlin man managed to pull away though and close back in on Evans. A strong run through Eau Rouge on lap five put da Costa sufficiently close enough to steal fourth from Evans with a great move through Les Combes.

Team mate Buller meanwhile was involved in a close battle with Patrick Neiderhause with the duo swapping places several times as Buller briefly took eighth place. By lap six Neiderhause had taken the place back, with Buller in ninth.

Da Costa made it into a podium position on lap nine as he passed Lewis Williamson for third, while Buller and Brundle were in the top half of the field in ninth and 13th.

Da Costa was still on the pace and set the fastest lap of the race on lap 10, having previously set the fastest time on lap seven. That pace saw his close in quickly on second placed man Conor Daly, and the Carlin driver passed the American on lap 11. Behind him Buller and Brundle were still making progress and had both passed Evans and were running in ninth and 11th place.

The action continued to the chequered flag, with Buller stealing eighth place and the final championship point. Brundle was also pushing hard and tried to pass Tomas Pal Kiss at the Bus Stop, but couldn’t quite make a move stick and had to be content with 11th across the line.

Da Costa’s second podium of the weekend sees him move to second place in the drivers’ standings, with just one event remaining, next week in Monza.

Reflecting on his race, da Costa said, “Today was a really good race. I haven’t been thinking at all about the championship. My only aim was to win as many races as possible, so I’m delighted now to be in second in the standings. The team did a great job to give me such a good car this weekend. I’m really looking forward to Monza now and seeing what we can do there.”

The drivers will take just a few days rest before the season finale at Monza next weekend.

Photo by Daniel Kalisz/LAT Photographic.