F1 | Williams’ Dave Robson on Latifi’s season: “Genuinely his pace is better than some of his results would suggest”
The Head of Vehicle Performance of the Grove-based team believes the Canadian has been unlucky in recent races, and says he would rather have his pace and lack of luck, instead of good luck and poor pace on track.
Nicholas Latifi has impressed many since the Hungarian GP, in which he held a podium position for a large chunk of the race and eventually finished P8 on the road, ahead of teammate George Russell. Both would get promoted one place higher after Sebastian Vettel’s post-race disqualification. Latifi led the team on what was their first points finish since the 2019 German GP, when Robert Kubica was behind the wheel. After qualifying for last week’s Turkish GP, Robson was asked by MotorLAT what he felt was behind Latifi’s superb run of form recently, and whether experience or a better car overall are playing a key role in that.
"I think it is a combination of all of those things, I think there’s little substitute for experience, so he’s clearly benefitting from that, I think he’s got a good group of people around him, and they’ve really started to gel, work really well together, which has probably taken a little bit of time, as it always would.
"But actually, this car now is so much better than it was 12 months ago, that it gives him an opportunity. He’s been extremely good for the last, well, quite a lot of races, 6, 7 or 8 races that he’s been strong, he’s been pushing George very hard.", he completed.
As the team’s CEO Jost Capito stated prior to the Russian GP, the pace gap between Russell and Latifi isn’t "as big as everybody believes". Robson agrees, and shines more light on why the Canadian hasn’t yet had the highs that Russell achieved recently, more notably his Q3 appearances, second in qualifying at Spa-Francorchamps and second row start in Sochi.
"We were just talking about it after qualifying, this afternoon. Unfortunately, every weekend there’s been something different, he’s just been a little bit unfortunate, he hasn’t been able to bring it all together, and show what he really can do relative to George.”
Robson believes Latifi is the right man for the team going forward, as he explains the "pace is good" and that the team is "really pleased" with the progress of the young Canadian.
"But I think that is only a matter of time. His pace has been good, and whilst you do need a little bit of luck, at the moment I’d take his pace and being unlucky, as opposed to someone who is slow and lucky, that’s not a winning combination. We’re really pleased with his progress and where he’s been recently.
"Genuinely his pace is better than some of his results would suggest.", he concluded.
Fresh from announcing their plans to become climate positive by 2030, Williams sits in 8th place in the constructors’ championship, with 23 points (7 of those courtesy of Latifi), and 16 points clear of direct rivals Alfa Romeo, ahead of next week’s United States Grand Prix.
Six races to go. We're up for the fight ⚔️ pic.twitter.com/VKvYIrQFar— Williams Racing (@WilliamsRacing) October 10, 2021