Nicholas Latifi explains ‘funny’ moment he took a wrong turn on Suzuka track

Henry Valantine
Nicholas Latifi, Williams, smiling with hand on head. Hungary, July 2022.

Nicholas Latifi, Williams, smiling with his hand on top of his head. Hungary, July 2022.

Nicholas Latifi has laughed off his ‘wrong turn’ moment in Friday practice at Suzuka, explaining that the radio message that accompanied it did not match up with what happened in real time.

The Williams driver acknowledged it was his own error as, in soaking wet conditions, he braked for the final chicane while on a lap, but turned in too early and took to an escape road by accident.

This left him needing to spin around, with a radio message from the Canadian then broadcast with him saying “not sure what happened there” and “strange”, but he explained that he had been distracted by adjusting a setting on his steering wheel as he had received late instructions to pit at the end of his lap.

“The radio was a bit delayed from what was shown on TV when I was saying it was a bit strange there,” Latifi told Motorsport.com about the moment he went awry.

“It was totally my fault, but I was getting some calls from my engineer. We were supposed to do another lap, but then we got a last-minute call to box, so I was changing something on my steering wheel, I was looking down, and when I looked up, I saw the turn which is obviously not the right turn.

“Not having had the proper laps yet, I was still getting my bearings around the track. I turned, and then basically because it wasn’t the right turn, which I didn’t realise right away, it’s a sharper turn, the car just kept understeering and kept going straight.

“I came on the radio right away and said ‘oh, what’s going on there’. Then I realised, okay, this is the wrong turn and a much slower turn, that’s why!

“I think the fact the car didn’t fully turn around, at some point it was spinning and then it just understeered straight.

“It was my mistake, just a funny one. The radio message is a bit skewed. No harm, no foul!”

Williams confirmed recently that Latifi will be leaving the team at the end of the season, after three years spent as a Williams driver, and he acknowledged that things simply have not gone his way throughout the year.

“It’s obviously disappointing news,” he said in Singapore of his departure.

“I mean I obviously would love to stay in F1 you know, it’s what I’ve been working towards for very good chunk of my life. The pinnacle of motorsport is where I want to be.

“But at the end of the day this is a result of performance based industry, it always has been, and unfortunately it just hasn’t worked out this year for many different reasons.”

There was some rare good news for Latifi when all was said and done in Japan. His P9 finish put him back to P20 in the Drivers’ Championship above Nyck de Vries and Nico Hulkenberg.

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