A qualifying that Williams driver Nicholas Latifi will not easily forget. The Canadian driver manages to make the most of the tricky conditions of the track at Silverstone and goes far beyond expectations closing in tenth position the qualifying for the 2022 British Grand Prix.
For Latifi it is the first Q3 appearance of his career. After a first part of the season that hasn’t gone in the best way for the Williams driver, this goal really represents a lot.
“It’s obviously a nice confident booster for sure,” - explains the Canadian to the microphones of Motorlat and other media outlets after qualifying - “It is my first Q3 so that’s also positive. That always feels nice... as I am sure you know George could attest to last year - doing it in a car that really shouldn’t be there.”
“When it rains, you do hope the opportunities present themselves. Things were feeling good out of the pits. You hope that when it feels good, the lap time translates into something good as well, which hasn't really been the case this year so far for me. That was obviously nice.
“You try to build from that rhythm and I think the team did a really good job in placing me in a good place on track, and I think that was also crucial in Q2 in order to get those laps early when the weather changed. So obviously it was a great job by them as well.”
Asked if he expected to do so well, especially compared to teammate Alex Albon who had the new upgraded package, he replied:
“I think there was just some things that still was coming together from my side in the practices so I was expecting, hoping to make quite a jump in qualifying, if it was dry and I did my job properly.”
“We have seen some positives signs from the updates in the dry conditions today and yesterday; obviously in the wet it kind of makes it more tricky, we see often cars can qualify our of position.
"So i’m not sure what exactly went wrong, we were a tenth from each other in Q1 [Latifi P15, Albon [P16]. From my side it is quite nice to have firstly progressed out of the first qualifying session, which is the first [time] this year, and then to get that first Q3.”
Thinking about tomorrow's race, the Canadian driver thinks that tyre management and a good strategy will be the keys for a good and consistent race.
“I think this is probably gonna be the first race this year where tyre wear might play a massive factor. There’s been tyre degradation with overheating, but we know how notorious this track is with actual wear, especially with that front left [and] especially without people getting a proper read in FP2 cause everyone was trying to fit everything in without FP1.
"It could be tricky, it could be better than we expect with the wear, it could be worse, so I think how we manage that and being flexible is gonna be key. I know we're way out of position and there’s gonna be a lot of cars that are much quicker and cars that I shouldn't be racing.
"If we see where I was in the dry in FP2, high fuel, low fuel, it doesn't look very optimistic. We are out of position and anything can happen, so we've just got to focus on our own race. We have to be very strategic on how we go about it because we don’t get drawn into trying to stay ahead of a car that is going to get by us anyway and then destroying our tyres and finishing right at the back.
"There will be some things to think about tonight for sure, but very excited for tomorrow nonetheless.”
Despite the great result obtained and the hopes that derive from it, Latifi tries to keep his feet on the ground and be realistic about what awaits him when the five red lights will turn off:
“It is like I have really nothing to lose approach. If everything goes as it should be, I mean our points realistic? Absolutely not. That’s not being pessimistic, that’s the reality."
"This is a track that is one of the easier one to overtake on as well. Despite the high speed nature of it, it is one of those overtaking tracks. We just gonna focus on our own race.
"Again, maybe people can get the tyre management wrong and we've seen that before where even if your car is not as fast as the others... if you get the tyre management and manage that tyre correctly, it could produce something good, so that’s obviously what we are gonna be shooting for.
"You obviously can’t control wherever everybody else does... so it will be exciting for sure."