DAMS‘ Nicholas Latifi admits that his title aspirations in FIA Formula 2 are looking slim after a disastrous weekend at Monza.
Latifi suffered a horrid weekend in both feature and sprint races, picking up no points whilst his title contenders have narrowed the gap towards the Canadian. Championship leader Nyck de Vries also collected two podium finishes, despite starting last in the feature race, extending the deficit to Latifi to 59 points.
With 96 possible points left from the final two rounds at Russia and Abu Dhabi, Latfii’s chance of claiming the title are slim, needing a miracle or a lot of bad luck for de Vries in order to take the fight to the final round. de Vries has a chance to clinch the title at Russia, if he collects enough points and pulls a 48 point deficit at the end of Russia, or a 65 point gap after the feature race.
Whilst Latifi is heading to the Sochi Autodrom, a track where he bagged a strong result last year, Latifi admits that the title fight is out of his hands now, aiming to keep second overall in the drivers’ championship and help DAMS wrap up the teams’ title.
“While Sochi was a good track for me last year, the title fight isn’t really in my hands any more,” said Latifi.
“The focus has to be on consolidating P2 in the drivers’ championship and keeping the lead for DAMS in the teams’ standing,”
“Mathematically it’s still possible, so of course I will give it everything, but Nyck now has a good chance of claiming the title at the next round.”
The non-score round from Latifi and the collection of points from rivals Luca Ghiotto, Jack Aitken and Sérgio Sette Câmara, has allowed them to close up to the Canadian, who still sits in second place. Fifth place and team-mate Sette Câmara is 15 points behind Latifi.
Latifi’s weekend started promising with a sixth-place start for the feature race, but a collision with UNI-Virtuosi Racing’s Guanyu Zhou, would damage his weekend as a whole, damaging his front wing when making contact with the Chinese driver.
Zhou squeezed Latifi going into the Variante chicane, causing Latifi to make contact with Zhou’s tyre, puncturing it and breaking Latifi’s front wing. Latifi dropped down the field and for the sprint race, started outside of the top ten. The Canadian couldn’t get into the points and ended the sprint race in tenth place.
Latifi felt Zhou didn’t follow the rule over defending a position, resulting the contact and ruined his weekend as a whole, presenting a golden opportunity to de Vries.
“The rule is clear on defending position in this situation, you have to leave a car width, but he didn’t, he pushed me off track, and that’s why we touched,” commented the Canadian.
“It was a massive disappointment during a race when I had a golden opportunity to outscore Nyck. In one move it was taken away.”