Nicholas Latifi was one of the quickest drivers during the Spa-Francorchamps weekend of the Formula Renault 3.5 Series, with the young Canadian driver being rewarded with a fourth place finish in race one, although the Arden Motorsport’s drivers performances deserved far more reward.
Latifi initially qualified third for race one, but was promoted to a front row start when Beitske Visser was excluded, and jumped into the lead at the start. He was unable to hold onto the lead however, falling behind Matthieu Vaxiviere on the sixth lap, and later fell to fourth behind Jazeman Jaafar and Dean Stoneman, but was able to keep Oliver Rowland behind him to take his best finish of the season so far.
“I knew that both the car and myself were capable of being at the front and it was just a matter of putting the lap together,” said Latifi of his qualifying effort on Saturday.
“On the first run I didn’t get any proper laps in due to mistakes from my part. This put more pressure on me for the second run but I managed to squeeze in a really good lap at the end, which was good enough for P3 so I was quite happy with that!
“I got a really good start and led my first laps ever in this category but I was struggling for pace in the race. This is something we knew we had to work on as we have a good car for qualifying but the races seemed to be more difficult.
“While trying to push hard to maintain a safe gap I made some mistakes which caused me to fall back. I was disappointed to finish 4th and we definitely should’ve been at least 3rd.”
Latifi revealed that they changed some of the set-up for Sunday’s second race, and despite setting the fastest lap of the race, he finished outside the points in thirteenth after breaking his front wing in an incident with Tom Dillmann on the opening lap.
“We made some changes to the car to help with the race pace after a difficult one the previous day but unfortunately I got my front wing chopped off in the straight on the first lap,” said Latifi.
“So I had to box to change it and unfortunately finished out of the points. It was a real shame because once I got back out on track I was the fastest car on track. The car felt really good and I even got the fastest lap so we were for sure on for a good result.”