‘It would have been a nice send-off’ – Latifi disappointed to miss out on points at Williams family’s final GP
A crazy Italian Grand Prix saw Williams’ Nicholas Latifi finish the race less than 10 seconds away from his first career points in P11. And with the Williams family set to step away from Formula 1 after this weekend, Latifi couldn’t help but feel frustration at not having given them top-10 finish at their final Grand Prix.
After a mid-race stoppage at Monza - following Charles Leclerc’s big Parabolica shunt- and with penalties for Lewis Hamilton and Antonio Giovinazzi to serve, Latifi was sitting pretty in P9 at the Lap 28 race restart. But the Canadian was ultimately unable to resist the faster cars behind him, as we would up 11th, just 9.652s behind the Racing Point of Sergio Perez in P10.
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“Obviously I’m disappointed not to be able to get Claire [Williams, the squad's out-going Deputy Team Principal] and the Williams family that last point – it would have been a nice send-off for them,” said Latifi.
“It was a very tricky race to manage. I know I lucked into the higher starting position at the second restart just because of the Safety Car but it was nice to experience that top 10 starting position, but we just struggled too much on those opening laps, cold tyres and there was really not much I felt I could do.
“Once everything settled down, I think the pace was not so bad. It was nice to catch up to Kimi [Raikkonen, who finished behind Latifi in P13]. But I think we showed that we really did have a straight-line deficit here, because it was really difficult to pass.”
Latifi’s team mate George Russell finished 14th, meanwhile, and was similarly annoyed not to have given Sir Frank and Claire Williams some timely first points of the year at Monza – although Russell went on to admit that, despite being a Mercedes-backed driver, he had been delighted to see a podium made up of AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly, McLaren’s Carlos Sainz and Racing Point’s Lance Stroll in Italy.
READ MORE: ‘I was sideways in every corner’ – thrilled Gasly explains how he fended off Sainz to seal Monza win
“It’s a real shame [to miss out on points],” he said. “The car was feeling really, really good, we were just very slow on the straights. I was much quicker than the guys around me, and every time I overtook them on the straight they just re-passed me.
“But we were just very unfortunate with the red flag incident and not pitting. Had we pitted, we could have been on for some good points there, but that’s the luck of the game sometimes, and I’m really happy... as much as I love seeing Mercedes dominate, as I’m a Mercedes driver, that’s absolutely awesome to see those guys on the top three… Incredible to see. I’m going to re-watch the race when I get home.”
Meanwhile, Russell went on to reflect on the “end of an era” at Williams, as Frank Williams prepares to depart from the team he founded in 1977 following their purchase by Dorilton Capital, while Claire Williams – who released Latifi from his garage ahead of the race start, and who was seen in tears after the chequered flag – steps down after seven years as the team’s Deputy Team Principal.
READ MORE: Bottas and Hamilton lead tributes to Williams as family announce exit from team
“It’s the end of an era,” said Russell. “A privilege to be a part of it. What Claire and Frank have done for the team is extraordinary and for the people who work for the team. They’ve always had the people at the bottom of their hearts.”