Sergio Sette Camara has described the additional pressures he was under during the Formula 2 feature race in Abu Dhabi, which he ended up winning from pole.
The Brazilian spoke prior to the race on his hopes of advancing from fourth in the standings to strengthen his claim to a FIA superlicence that would make him eligible to race in Formula 1.
“In fourth, I guarantee my superlicence, and even if I’m not going to F1 next year it’s always good to be in the market with one,” he said.
“You set yourself up to get lucky, for an opportunity to show up. Not necessarily in a driver role, but maybe in tests or something.”
Since McLaren split with its Brazilian sponsor Petrobras at the start of November, the team’s development driver Sette Camara has been linked to IndyCar and rival F1 team Williams.
He secured fourth in the standings as a minimum by winning the Abu Dhabi feature race, although DAMS team-mate Nicholas Latifi has now been confirmed as Williams’ second driver for 2020.
Their combined efforts in the race, made dramatic by rapidly degrading supersoft tyres, won DAMS the F2 teams title.
“It was an exciting race for sure. When you lose the lead it’s like you never took pole, and especially off the line like I did.
“In Abu Dhabi I think all the teams get the feeling it’s going to be a rear degradation race, but I think maybe with the change to this car the race has migrated to a front-deg race.
“It was extremely difficult because at some point you had the rear grip but you couldn’t use it because the car just doesn’t turn. It was a race where you had to recover your tyres and it was difficult to know exactly where the pace was at.
“This is the race of the season that I’ve carried the most pressure going into. I’ve been told by many different people: ‘you have to have the Super Licence. even if you’re not going to F1 you need to have it’.
“It means that Abu Dhabi was a race where I had a bit more stress than an average F2 race. It’s just nice that everything finally fit together. I couldn’t be happier.”
Sette Camara’s win means he starts eighth on the sprint race’s reserved grid, where he will be hoping to outscore team-mate Latifi and Virtuosi Racing’s Luca Ghiotto to finish the season as runner-up in the points.