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Formula E

Da Costa claims Shanghai victory as Wehrlein suffers huge title blow

Antonio Felix da Costa claimed victory in the second race of the Formula E Shanghai E-Prix double-header.

Da Costa China
To news overview © Simon Galloway / Formula E

Antonio Felix da Costa secured a majestic victory in the second race of the Shanghai E-Prix double-header, whilst his team-mate suffered a huge blow to his title chances. 

Starting in third, Da Costa remained amongst the leaders the entire race, before charging to the front when he had enough energy to push for the remaining laps. His energy management was flawless and saw him claim a second win in three races. 

Jake Hughes finished second after starting on pole to claim a maiden Formula E podium, as Norman Nato completed the podium. Championship leader Nick Cassidy finished in fourth and extended his championship leader, whilst Mitch Evans finished in fifth. 

Second in the standings Pascal Wehrlein failed to score a point after pitting for a puncture at the Shanghai International Circuit, with Jake Dennis also failing to score a point.

Rapid start

Despite the air temperature being 34 degrees Celsius, some wet patches were present on the circuit following a rain shower an hour ahead of the race. However, the circuit was mostly dry. 

McLaren's Hughes started on pole position with Vandoorne alongside him, whilst both Jaguars began on the third row. Third in the standings Oliver Rowland lined up in eighth, although both Dennis and Wehrlein were down on the seventh row.

Sunday's race was scheduled as one lap shorter than Saturday's, meaning the peloton would end sooner and switch to flat out racing. Nevertheless, significant energy saving was required in the first half of the race. 

As the lights went out, it was Vandoorne who made the best launch and led into the first corner, dropping Hughes to second. Elsewhere, both Jaguar drivers lost a place, whilst Nato made up three and slotted into fourth. Wehrlein and Dennis also made early progress.

Towards the end of the second lap and Hughes was overtaken by Da Costa for second, with the Porsche driver having dived down the inside in the final corners. After being overtaken, Hughes and multiple others activated their first attack mode.

Lap four and the race had a new leader, as Nato threw his Andretti around the outside of Hughes, Vandoorne and Da Costa. The pace being set at the front was visibly much faster than Saturday's race, with the leaders having been lapping only a couple of seconds off the qualifying pace.

Drama for championship favourites

Come lap eight, and the fast nature of the race was hurting Wehrlein and Dennis, who still found themselves only in 12th and 13th. At the front, Nato still led from Hughes and Da Costa, whilst Cassidy had navigated his way to fourth. 

Da Costa moved into the lead a lap later but dropped back to second on lap 11 after taking his final attack mode. What was still clear, though, was a pace of the race. 

Drama struck at the end of that lap for Wehrlein, who pitted for a tyre change after sustaining a puncture following contact with Sam Bird. It highlighted the dangers of being in the midfield, caused by qualifying badly. Wehrlein dropped far behind the field, in a huge blow to his title chances. 

Lap 15 and the pace had slowed slightly, resulting in more aggressive overtakes to get into the ideal track position for the late push. Nato continued to lead from Da Costa and Hughes, with the latter having been jostling for third with Vandoorne. The Jaguars sat in fifth and sixth.

A lap later and Da Costa moved to the front with an energy advantage and increased the pace again. The Porsche driver had a great amount of energy left, with only Cassidy and Evans having had more.

Cassidy knew he had to move closer to Da Costa and went alongside Hughes into the first corner on lap 19; however, the pair made contact which severely broke the championship leader's front wing. It was hanging on by a thread, resulting in flashbacks to what happened in São Paulo.

Da Costa victorious

As the race entered its final eight laps, Da Costa further increased the pace in the lead, ahead of Hughes, Nato, Cassidy and Evans. 

The DS Penskes ran in sixth and seventh. It was the Jaguars with the most energy in the closing laps, although with Da Costa not having too much less, it was looking like a masterclass by the Season 6 champion.

The late race push was certainly in motion, with the field having started to spread out with the top seven all in the same places. All the drivers – excluding Bird who retired after hitting De Vries – were pushing, although Da Costa still had a six tenths of a second gap.

Nobody had the pace to catch the factory Porsche driver, who crossed the finish line to claim his second victory of the season. Hughes kept second to secure a maiden podium, whilst Nato finished third and received the fastest lap point. 

Cassidy finished fourth to significantly extend his lead in the standings, whilst Evans finished in fifth. Vandoorne finished in sixth ahead of Vergne, as Maximilian Günther, Robin Frijns and Rowland completed the top 10.

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