In 1968, I had a long talk with my Anglo-Brazilian friend Jerry Cunningham, with whom I'd just won the 1967 Formula Vee championship, about what we should do next. I had proved that I was quick enough to win races in Brazil, but I had no idea whether I would be good enough to compete against the best drivers in the world.
You have to realise that, as a 21-year-old Brazilian who'd never left my home country, I regarded guys like Graham Hill and Jim Clark and Jackie Stewart as heroes from another universe.
Jerry said I should take the plunge and go to England, so in February 1969 we flew from Sao Paulo to Gatwick Airport. As our British Caledonian Boeing 727 touched down, I had two thoughts: "What a cold, grey, foggy country" and "I can't believe I'm in the land of Hill, Clark and Stewart!" That sent a shiver of excitement running up and down my spine.