Dave Robson goes deep into the mind of Nicholas Latifi and what didn’t work for him in F1 2021 and what could in the future.
Latifi had an up and down second season, most importantly he picked up his first ever points for the team and it was an improvement for Williams also. It was a slowish start however, but his year picked up around mid-season and the results achieved at Hungary and Belgium have been well documented for both him and his teammate George Russell.
He was somewhat overshadowed by the Brit and not always utilising the speed and pace that he had, there was a semblance of inconsistency in 2021 from him overall also but Robson saw the positive side of 2021 and was a happy man.
Explaining more, Robson notes how Latifi had the tendency to overthink and intelligence didn’t help him to compete on instincts. The talent sure is there but he will have to put it all together to extract the most and a fresh start in 2022 could help him.
“I think this year has been a little bit more up and down than we’d hoped,” said Robson to media including FormulaRapida.net. “We have bounced a bit between qualifying and race pace, but he’s still got a lot of very good talent for driving the car and understanding and articulating where the problems are. Obviously, it’s a massive reset next year.
“The cars are completely different, new teammate as well, so I think there is an opportunity for him next year to really shine. I think there’s still every chance that he can do that. He’s got what he needs, but he perhaps needs to trust his instincts a bit more and maybe will always think too deeply about it, which is potentially part of the problem that comes and goes.
“He does have a tendency to overthink, and he’s almost a bit too intelligent to kind of go out there and really just drive on his instincts. But crucially he does have those instincts. He can do it, but I think it’s almost a chicken and egg thing. The car being a bit quicker means he can relax a little bit, particularly in the early part of qualifying.
“He can then start to really trust his instinct, to drive like he can do and like most of the drivers do. And he can still get up on that upward spiral and do a good job for sure,” summed up Robson. With the Q2 run and some points, Latifi showed that he can get the job done which is always a positive factor.
But as Robson advised, with so many changes for 2022, it’s a clean slate for all of the grid line-up. New rules, new cars and for Latifi a new team mate who has a pretty decent track record having raced at the sharp end before. He is improving and getting better and will hope to capitalise on a better run this year.
The story was written by Neil Farell
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