‘It was not fun’ – Latifi rues tricky start as super-sub De Vries makes Monza headlines
Nicholas Latifi was left to rue a scrappy start to the Italian Grand Prix – and a slow first pit-stop – as he came home second last in a race he branded "not fun".
The Williams driver lost out to substitute team mate Nyck de Vries – who was standing in for the unwell Alex Albon – during qualifying and the race at Monza, with the Dutchman scoring points at the first time of asking to stake his claim for a full-time seat in 2023.
Having started the Grand Prix two spots behind De Vries in P10, Latifi dropped four places on the opening lap as the field jostled for position, leaving him exposed to several drivers pushing to recover from engine-related grid penalties.
And after crossing the line in 15th position, Latifi reflected: “We got really compromised at the start. I got sandwiched in between a few cars – trying to avoid getting crashed into, basically. And then there were a few cars that cut the first corner.
“It compromised the race, because then I became the first car [ahead] of the cars – let’s say, out of position – so all the faster cars that were going to come through, I was the first one they got through.”
While De Vries enjoyed a “dream” run to ninth position – and bagged two valuable points for Williams – Latifi was the penultimate finisher, ahead only of Haas’s Kevin Magnussen.
Asked to evaluate his pace across the 53-lap encounter, Latifi said: “I think [with] the way our car was today, it was [a case of trying to] maintain the position we were in, and [then] we had a fighting chance.
“But to have to make up ground... Our car is fast in a straight line, but we cannot brake and we cannot carry speed through the corners. I managed to get through a few cars, but we’re missing so much downforce – so it was not fun out there.”
After the disappointment of Italy, Latifi will head to Singapore aiming to get his first points of the season on the board – having twice claimed top 10 finishes during the 2021 campaign (in Hungary and Belgium).