Formula 3 Euro Series race-winner Antonio Felix da Costa is hopeful that setting the third-fastest time on his Formula 1 testing debut will boost his profile and show his potential.
The Portuguese driver tested for Force India in the first day of rookie testing in Abu Dhabi today, completing 77 laps after taking over from regular reserve driver Paul di Resta in the morning. He was the fastest F1 debutant, setting a time just 0.467sec off Adrian Sutil's qualifying time for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
"It's important in every way, for me, my confidence and everybody around me," said da Costa when asked how important his performance was to him. "And especially in my home country, Portugal, I think it's good now to try and get some better support from everybody. We showed good potential today and we'll see what we get out of it."
Da Costa added that he was pleased with his performance throughout the test despite not having raced more powerful machinery than GP3 and F3 in his career.
"We did the program that we planned today and I'm very happy," he said. "It's such an experience to have, especially with a team like Force India that has been in F1 for a long time. The guys really know what they are doing and it's a big help for them to tell me what to do initially and how to get on with it.
"It's just amazing how everything works. In F3, you have one button on the steering wheel but in F1 you have about 100 different things you can do. There's a lot of different things that you have to get used to. But at the end we were OK."