Williams have said that Nicholas Latifi’s newfound pace is a combination of new parts and increased confidence, which is leaving teammate George Russell “disturbed”
Latifi is the only driver yet to finish a race this year, currently sitting last in the title. That doesn’t tell any stories though, as the Canadian got into Q2 for the second time in his career at Imola, taking 14th, only two places behind teammate Russell.
Unfortunately neither car made it past lap 35, Latifi was out 10 turns in after contact with Nikita Mazepin, and Russell caused a red flag by hitting Valtteri Bottas out of the race.
In terms of the pace both drivers – and especially Latifi – found, Williams head of development Dave Robson said.
“I think we had a few new parts here – the floor was the obvious one – I think that’s improved the car a bit. We had the tires working well here and I think the calmer conditions in terms of the wind helped the car perform better, which meant the tires were working better.”
“Everything was just a bit calmer and easier here, and that’s really where the lap time came from.”
On Latifi he explained the Canadian just seems faster around Imola.
“I think he was quick here out of the box in October as well when we came, so I think for whatever reason, he’s comfortable here in Imola. But for sure, having that confidence in the car definitely helps. Nicky needs that kind of momentum through the weekend, and he had it here.”
“And even when he had a little blip in FP3, we got him back out and he was straight back on it. It really didn’t perturb him at all, either in terms of his faith in the car or what was going on in his mind.”