The only positive note of the Azerbaijan GP for Nicholas Latifi was the countdown to his first Canadian Grand Prix. In fact, because of Covid-19, Formula One hasn’t visited Canada for two years in a row, coinciding with Latifi’s first two seasons in the highest formula.
The race in Baku was a struggle from the outset – while Albon could find some highs in his race, the same couldn’t be said for his teammate. Nicholas Latifi was awarded a 10-second stop-and-go penalty as the lights went out, after a mechanic had touched his car after the 15-second warning had been given before the formation lap.
The driver sounded very disappointed during the post-race media session: “Obviously, the penalty kind of undid everything, before it even started really.
“It was tricky, you’re so far off… the pack and then you get into blue flags and you get with the leaders very quickly.
“The race ended up being a very long and lonely one. We managed to get more mileage and laps with the car, but overall, a challenging weekend on this track.
While the situation seemed already compromised, worse was to come for Latifi, who was later awarded a five-second time penalty for ignoring blue flags when Gasly was trying to lap him. The combination of those two penalties meant Latifi couldn’t make as much headway up the order as his teammate, coming home at the back of the field.
“A day to forget, but excited to be heading straight to Canada for my first home race.”
The good news for the William’s driver is that in his third season of Formula 1, he is finally going to get the chance to compete at a home race, Montreal returning for the first time since 2019.
“I’m super excited to finally be heading to Canada for my first home race,” commented Latifi.
“Getting the opportunity to compete at home and seeing all the Canadian fans will be a great feeling.
In addition to being a pretty emotional circuit to be racing on, given the fans who will turn out to support him, Latifi believes Montreal will provide some interesting track-actions.
“It’s another track with long straights, which we seem competitive on. However, some corners may not be particularly well suited to our car, based off my previous experience from FP1 sessions, so that might balance us out a little bit.
“Moreover, with these new cars, we might face some extra porpoising here.
“With it being a double-header, we’ve got the chance to put Baku behind us and immediately use what we’ve learned to make the most out of this weekend.”
Latifi enters the weekend under immense pressure, with some suggestions that he could be replaced by Oscar Piastri, or by Formula E World Champion Nick De Vries, in time for next month’s visit to Silverstone.
“I know I’m going to be driving at least until the end of the season, so there’s not much to say about it,” concluded the Canadian.