Nicholas Latifi explains why he was slowest by almost a second

Jon Wilde
Nicholas Latifi's Williams on qualifying day for the Dutch GP. Zandvoort September 2022.

Nicholas Latifi's Williams on qualifying day for the Dutch Grand Prix. Zandvoort September 2022.

Williams driver Nicholas Latifi has revealed a problem with his Mercedes engine was why he was almost a second slower than everyone else in Dutch Grand Prix qualifying.

The Canadian remains the only regular competitor in this season’s F1 pack not to have scored a point so far in 2022, and his chances of doing so at Zandvoort look extremely remote.

At first glance, it looked a woeful performance from Latifi as he was slowest in Q1 by 0.962sec around a 71-second lap, and that gap would have been even greater if Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo had not encountered issues with sand on the track during their final timed efforts.

But in his post-session interview, Latifi insisted he had been struggling to contend with troubles far more significant than merely some dirt on the racing line.

“We had an engine problem, so I didn’t really get to do a representative lap,” said the 27-year-old from Montreal.

“Already on my first lap, the only lap I set [a time] I was getting some messages on the dash, there was an issue and I was losing quite a lot of power on the straights.

“Then we had to adjust the run plan, basically, and we went out on our second set and I had to abort the lap after three corners.

“We still don’t know exactly what the issue was. Unfortunate, obviously, to have it in qualifying, but I guess more frustrating because the free practice sessions were very tricky from my side.

“We were trying to understand quite a lot of things and I felt I’d made some good steps already from my first lap and the feeling in the car felt a bit more together.

“It would have been nice to at least see what would have happened if I had been able to do some representative laps, but that’s racing – mechanical gremlins are a part of it.”

Regarding whether the problem would also compromise his race, Latifi said: “I guess it depends on what the issue is exactly. We don’t know exactly what’s causing it.

“We’ve been struggling with something throughout all the practice sessions, so if it’s something of that nature it might not be the best going into the race but maybe it’s something different – we just have to analyse it.”

Latifi’s team-mate Alex Albon, who scored his and Williamsfourth point of the season in the Belgian Grand Prix last time out, qualified 15th.