Latifi pleased to end Spanish GP weekend ‘on a high’ – but admits Williams have ‘lots of homework’ ahead of Monaco
A disappointing Spanish Grand Prix qualifying saw Williams’ Nicholas Latifi outgunned around the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya by the Haas of rookie Mick Schumacher. But after the Canadian recovered from his P19 grid slot to P16 – and ahead of Fernando Alonso’s Alpine – on race day, Latifi said he’d been pleased by his Sunday performance.
Latifi earned himself seven years bad luck in Q1 of qualifying at Barcelona, cracking the left-hand mirror of his FW43B after running wide at Turn 9 and causing bodywork damage to his car – while Latifi suggested after the session that his chassis may have been carrying a hidden issue undetectable on the data since Portugal.
Regardless, the Canadian reset for race day, making decent progress from P19 on the grid to finish 16th, surviving a slide off track on the very last lap to come home ahead of Alonso’s Alpine and both Haas cars of Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin.
“The goal was always to look forward,” said Latifi after the race. “We had some issues in qualifying but on pace we were [quicker than the Haas cars] – and with good strategy, some good overtakes on track we managed to get in front of them and do our race. But it was for the most part a lonely race unfortunately.”
The covid outbreak last year means that the upcoming Monaco Grand Prix will be Latifi’s first experience of Formula 1 machinery at the track – with Latifi having last driven around the Principality during a frustrating weekend in Formula 2 in 2019, which saw his title charge momentum arrested by a pair of non-scores.
But looking ahead to his Monaco F1 debut, Latifi said that he and Williams had plenty of data to analyse from Barcelona, ahead of what will be the team’s 750th Grand Prix.
“It was very challenging for sure,” said Latifi of his Barcelona race, “but the one positive for me is that out of all the sessions, this was the one that felt the best both from a driving and car feeling-wise.
“All the practices [and] qualifying were very, very tricky and the race was where I felt most comfortable with the car. So from that point of view, it’s obviously a positive – the race is the most important session of the weekend and it was nice actually to get some battles in early on with the Haases and Alfa Romeos.
“But even though the pace was still not great and the result was still ultimately not where we wanted it to be, I’m happy that at least the most important session of the weekend was the one that was the best, so we’re ending kind of on a high. But there’s lots of homework to do before Monaco for sure.”