Nicholas Latifi hopes his F1 Hungarian GP results further show his willingness to continue at Williams in 2022, and help move the team forward.
With the driver line-up for 2022 still unannounced for Williams, it is unsure whether current driver, Latifi, will retain his seat with the British F1 team. However, after the Hungarian GP, where the Canadian secured eighth (P7 due to DQ), finishing a place above George Russell, which he hopes that works in his favour.
And Latifi is not shy of expressing his willingness to continue racing for Williams. Also hoping that the result he got can back his racing abilities and what he can do. “It’s extremely important result,” said Latifi to written media. “I mean, obviously, my mission is to stay with the team. For the next year, I don’t have anything secured right now.
“So, I mean, a result like this can, can only help.” Considering how 2021 has been for Latifi, the Hungarian GP result was one that was not anticipated for. He had minor power issues again in qualifying and starting 18th behind Russell, not much was expected for his race in terms of a point-scoring position.
Fortunately for Latifi and Williams, the Turn 1 incident left five cars retired, and his 18th position gave him an opportunity to get out from the inside line, avoiding collision and cruising into Top 5 under the red flag. “I saw the one accident straight up ahead, I didn’t think it was gonna be that many cars that I was going to be able to pass, but then I guess the momentum of all the other cars going out and I managed to just stay on the inside.
“There was a bit more grip right on the inside for the traction as well. So even the cars that didn’t get caught up, I was able to just accelerate by them so, that was quite nice. I mean the actual start itself was not the greatest, but I mean, I just stayed clear up the carnage in front. I guess that’s the only benefit of starting at the back, is you have a front row seat to it all.
“At the end I was able to take advantage of that, from then prior to the safety car, I didn’t know what exactly position I was in, but I saw, I was in like, well into the points,” said Latifi about the first start. The second start saw Latifi make a smart decision with Williams by pitting, which allowed him to move up to third behind Sebastian Vettel.
He maintained that position until Lap 24, but after an undercut on his pitstop from AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda, it saw Latifi drop places but still within points. He was able to maintain his position in free air finishing eighth in the order (P7 after DQ).
“We were obviously running away at a position at the front, but I was just doing my own, my own race, focusing on my tyres, not trying to stay with the cars in front, because I mean, ultimately we had the ninth quickest car at qualifying,” said Latifi.
“We didn’t want to take a step back in the race, but just trying to get my tyres to the end, keep a bit a tyre life for the pitstop window to kind of have a bit of play. We got undercut and overcut, subsequently we slipped back a bit, but I mean at the end it was very tough to manage the tyres. I really dropped off at the end, but the points was the goal.”
The remarkable Sunday for Latifi showcased not only his racing abilities, but also mental abilities, as he was able to remain cool under pressure, seeing the race through and salvaging points. Even with the ninth quickest car on the grid.
“When I was in P3, it felt like a lonely race, even though I was up at the front because obviously the cars were pulling away in front,” said Latifi. “Then I was kind of just managing the gap to Yuki. I knew there was probably a massive train behind me, but I could only really see Yuki.
“I think the Ferrari behind me at the time or someone like that. I mean, obviously I haven’t been in a position with you know points or podiums or win for a while now, but once you slot into that rhythm, you just focus on your job, even at this level, with an inferior car. I knew I could get the job done, yeah,” said Latifi.
Being the best finish of this season for Latifi and Williams, he hopes this race, upon upcoming races in the second half of the season, will show the team his eagerness to stay and race for them in 2022. “We took advantage of the opportunity.
“But, yeah, ultimately, still got a lot of races to go, to keep making improvements on my side and to show the team that I want to stay in here and help push them forward,” said Latifi, who will have to wait on to find about his F1 future.
The article was written by Selena Aburas
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