Nicholas Latifi may have finished at the back of the field in last weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix after a number of misfortunes, but early on, the Canadian impressed by racing inside the top ten.
The Williams Racing driver had made it through to Q2 for the first time in his short career on Saturday to start fifteenth, and he made a great start to jump into the top ten, running as high as eighth before his race began to unravel.
“The wet weather created a lot of excitement going into today’s race, and I knew it would give me a better chance of making up positions,” said Latifi. “The fact that one of the Red Bulls went off heading to the grid showed just how difficult conditions were.
“It’s a long run down to Turn 1 at the Hungaroring – one of the longest of the season – so it’s a circuit where you want to get a good start, and that’s exactly what I got. At the first two races I didn’t make such a great getaway, so I guess it was a case of third time lucky!
“I got as high as P10 but the Intermediate tyres degraded quickly and I needed to pit for slicks. Unfortunately, that’s where my race unravelled.”
Unfortunately, as Latifi was making his pit stop, his Williams mechanics released him into the path of Carlos Sainz Jr., with the McLaren F1 Team driver’s front wing causing an immediate puncture, a puncture that would see the Canadian spin at the first corner.
He lost more than a lap making his way back to the pit lane with the damaged tyre, and from there on in, it was just a case of learning more about the FW43 ahead of the next triple header starting next week at Silverstone. He made a total of five pit stops, using all three compounds of slick tyre, whilst also suffering a spin entering turn five late in the day.
“I thought I was pulling into a clear lane when I got the green light and was released from my pit box,” admitted Latifi, who received a five-second time penalty for the incident. “Instead I got a tap from behind and a puncture, which caused a spin at Turn 1.
“Bringing the car back to the pits I could feel the tyre wanted to fall apart, so I had to crawl back as slowly as possible to prevent it causing too much damage to the car. But even driving carefully the floor took a big hit.
“After that it was just a case of trying to get more experience, but that was a challenge as I was missing a huge amount of downforce because of the floor damage. This is a track where you rely on downforce, and as the track got quicker and quicker it just amplified the problem. Not a great situation, but still valuable experience.
“Overall an unfortunate result, but I had a good track position, and it would have been interesting to see what was possible if the circumstances had been more favourable. It wasn’t to be this time, but there are positives to take from the weekend, and lessons we can apply at the next round at Silverstone.”