Sérgio Sette Câmara says his first win in less than two years brings fresh confidence following an up and down weekend at the Red Bull Ring in FIA Formula 2.
The McLaren Junior driver accomplished his first win in the series since the Belgium Sprint Race in 2017, less than two years ago. Since then, Sette Câmara has been part of the F2 series with Carlin where he achieved podium finishes and the teams’ title alongside Lando Norris, but never made it to the top step.
Since his switch from the British team to DAMS, the Brazilian was determined to end his streak without a win in 2019 with the French team, who saw victories with both Alexander Albon and now team-mate Nicholas Latifi last year.
At the sixth round of the 2019 F2 season, Sette Câmara’s Feature race started in awe when he collided with team-mate Latifi, sending the Canadian in a spin and down the field. The Brazilian was punished with a five-second time penalty, which proved to be costly as he crossed the line third after passing championship leader Nyck de Vries, but was demoted to fifth as a result.
But in the Sprint race, the Brazilian displayed a commanding drive by holding off Carlin’s Louis Delétraz and UNI-Virtuosi Racing‘s Luca Ghiotto to claim his first win of the season and boost his championship aspirations.
“It was an up and down weekend,” said Sette Câmara. “It started with a really bad qualifying, it’s still a mystery why we could comfortably take pole position on one track and have no pace on the next.
“The Feature Race was not a good day for me and the team. We could have had both cars on the podium, but we didn’t extract the potential due to a mistake I made when I touched Nicky (Latifi) and compromised the result of the team, spinning him and getting a penalty. But the reaction was not negative as Nicky and DAMS has forgiven me.
“The Sprint Race was brilliant, my first win in a long time which brings a breath of fresh air and confidence. We’re in a good position in the championship and it’s positive energy that we need to keep going forward.”
The twenty-one year old led majority of the Sprint race and was on course for an easy win until then second place Delétraz’s brake failure, resulting in a scary high speed crash, brought out the safety car.
This promoted Ghiotto and team-mate Guanyu Zhou into the podium places and within attacking range on Sette Câmara. The Brazilian managed to hold off Ghiotto in the final laps to keep the victory within his grasp and end a long wait to return to the top step.
Sette Câmara’s win promotes him to third place in the championship at the halfway stage of the season, only eight points away from team-mate Latifi in the race for the F2 crown.
During the press conference in F2, Sette Câmara knew once the safety car came out, he was in trouble due to the poor condition of his tyres and the risk of pushing to create a gap would result in further wear.
“When it came out I knew I was in trouble because I was on the limit of my tyres. I pulled a gap and to do that you pay a price for it, you damage your tyres,” continued the Brazilian.
“The guys that didn’t they closed the gap, obviously the safety car bunches everyone back up. When I saw it was Luca behind me I knew that was one of the cars, you know, DAMS and Virtuosi this year have been exceptional with race management, so it was not great news when I heard it.
“He had better pace but I had a good restart, a good few corners, and I pulled away. At one point it was a four second gap which he slowly took back, but thankfully the race finished. He says he also had bad tyres but my tyres were in really bad shape so it was a close call.”