Nicholas Latifi was delighted after making his free practice debut with the Sahara Force India F1 Team at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Friday, with the Canadian completing twenty-eight laps and finishing nineteenth fastest.
Latifi took the place of Sergio Pérez during the session and admitted it was a much busier session than he is used to racing in FIA Formula 2, and although he finished more than two seconds off the pace of regular driver Esteban Ocon, he had a lot to learn about the VJM11 and the circuit.
“It was a great experience and it was a special feeling pulling out of the pit lane with a big smile on my face,” said Latifi. “There were definitely more people in the stands compared to what I’m usually used to during a Friday practice [in Formula Two] but that’s one of the great things about Montreal.
“It’s definitely one of the busiest Fridays of the year and it was especially nice to see all the Canadian fans on my last lap with their flags waving to me.
“You always want to drive more, especially now that FP1 has finished. For sure, I’d love nothing more than to jump back in the car for FP2 and all the other sessions during the weekend. But I’m here to learn as well.
“I can learn a lot from sitting in on the debriefs and following the sessions. As much as you learn from driving yourself, you do learn from listening to the experienced drivers and obviously we have two great drivers in the team in Sergio and Esteban.”
Latifi revealed the team gave him a pretty straightforward programme to complete during the session but it was important for him to do so without drama so to gather the data necessary to aid the team this weekend.
“The team was generous and they kept it relatively simple for me,” said the Canadian. “There was basically just a lot of aero running and gathering the data by doing the laps I needed to do.
“In that regard, it was fairly straight forward.”