First Race Karts: 2006-2007
First Race Cars: 05/2014
Hobbies: Mountain Bike, Karting
Favourite circuit cars: Barcelona
Favourite meal: Brazilian snack, pão de queijo (Brazilian cheese sandwich)
Favourite drink: Water & Red Bull
Favourite music: Dire Straits
Favourite subject while at school and/or university: History & Geography
Favourite thing to do when not racing: Prepare for the next race.
Motorsport heros: Ayrton Senna, Sebastian Vettel
If you are a Brazilian you don't have to grow up in a motorsports family to have it in your blood, it is part of the national DNA and while not as ubiquitous as soccer there are pointer aplenty as Sérgio recalls, "Yes, there was no specific event or person that got me interested in racing. Since I was very young I just liked the toys that were a car, watched F1, & play F1 video game. No one of my family was involved in motorsport before."
That has changed though, "Sure, my father plays a big roll in my career, he is the one that believes in me the most, even more then myself I think. We have been doing this together since the beginning and I am sure we will end it together too, no matter how we end it. My mom & my uncle also helped me a lot in the early stages."
"My main goal is to reach Formula 1 but for 2016 it is the F3 championship and I want to win the title."
Already Sérgio has had some great battles and his favourite is from 2014. "It was the German Karting Championship (DKM), Oschersleben round. I was having a disappointing season & so we changed team. This was the first race with the new team & we started the weekend with quite some bad luck. My chain fell off in the morning warm-up & in the qualifying practice, before I could do any lap. This meant I had to start last in all the qualifying races. During the three qualifying races starting from last obviously, I gained many positions & finished top 10 in all of them."
"Then I started the final from P11 & won the race, beating many good drivers, which during that year were performing much better then me. This race is special for me because I proved to myself that I was capable to win if I had a good kart. It was also really important to close the karting stage of my career with good memories."
On to formula cars and the FIA Formula 3 European Championship for 2015 Sergio had a tough start to his first full season but it all came together late on. "Yes, my first season in single seater didn't start that well for me but the podium in Spa came at the right time and from there things improved a lot and specially the second part of the season with the podium in Red Bull Ring and the 3rd in the Zandvoort Masters gave me a lot of confidence."
Though it didn't result in a podium he recalls another race as his favourite from 2015. "It was 32nd race of the season (second race of the 11th round in Hockenheim). I had a good start and got up to 7th place. Unfortunately I didn't have the pace to be in that position, the drivers in front of me opened a big gap, the driver behind me was also much quicker & he was trying to overtake me nearly every lap."
"For me it felt like the race was never finishing & it was really tiring. I managed to finish the race without being overtaken & I believe It was very fair play between me and the other driver, we always left just enough space for each other."
He stays in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship for 2016 and feels it is a huge opportunity to be in a Motopark car. "I am very proud to join Red Bull family and it is a great opportunity to be part of it, I am very grateful for it. I am very confident for this coming season and really looking forward to start competing again. I am sure that, together with the team and working on the same direction as we are, we will get our objectives. This is the team I wanted to be in and the right championship."
An early outing was a December test at the Catalunya circuit a great way to build confidence for the Brazilian. "My favourite track is Barcelona because it is so complete, slow, mid, & high speed corners. Specially the third sector is very technical & I really enjoy it."
As for picking one turn Sergio has no hesitation. "My favourite corner of all until now is the last corner of Red Bull Ring. When you arrive for the braking of the last corner the driver is definitely not in his comfort zone, we just exit a very high-speed corner; our car is completely over the Astroturf, & there is not enough time to put the car straight for the braking."
"Once we brake we obviously lose the rear & it really feels like you are going to spin, but right in the apex of the corner there is a compression that stabilises the rear and all of a sudden everything is under control again."
"This elevation change allows to carry much more speed then expected and it really took me some laps to believe so much in the car. What makes this corner so special for me is this feeling of nearly spinning on the entry & suddenly the track saves you, I think even if I do this corner 1000 times it will always feel thrilling."
It is clear from that description that the car is talking to Sergio and that he understands and wants to make sure that he is making the best of the information. "Definitely what gives me most satisfaction is the techniques that can be applied, specially with car racing (because in karting this factor is quite limited). There are so many tools the driver can apply to make the car react just the way he wants; there is no limit to these tools."
"I feel very hungry to learn more each day and maybe one day become a very technical driver. I also appreciate driving on feeling, but feeling is limited, the talent that you have won't change no matter what you do, so it doesn't attract me that much since you can do nothing about it."
"I love to grow as a driver & the only way I can do this is by working hard to polish my technique, this is what gives me most satisfaction. If one day I reach my absolute limit, or a barrier that doesn't allow me to improve as a driver, then I no longer want to race, even though I know this barrier doesn't exist."