Latifi fears Q2 shunt will result in grid penalty

Date published: September 4 2021 - Jon Wilde

Nicholas Latifi's crashed Williams is returned to the pits during qualifying for the Dutch GP. Zandvoort September 2021.

Nicholas Latifi expects to receive a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change at the Dutch Grand Prix following his heavy crash in qualifying.

Like his Williams team-mate George Russell, the Canadian spun into the barriers towards the end of Q2, the duo independently bringing out the red flags.

It was a real back-down-to-earth scenario for the Williams pair, who have just notched up two consecutive double points finishes.

And it was not what the team’s managing director and team principal, Jost Capito, would have wanted to see while he self-isolates having been a close contact of Kimi Raikkonen, who tested positive for COVID-19 after they had dinner together. Capito has since returned a negative test.

Nor will Capito be happy that Latifi thinks he will now start the race 19th on the grid rather than 14th as a gearbox change is expected to be required.

“I’ll be surprised if we don’t take a gearbox penalty with the impact I had,” said Latifi, who was fortunately unhurt in his shunt.

“Apologies to the team for that as I know I’ve left them a lot of work tonight.”

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Russell admitted his crash had simply been a result of “pushing too hard”.

‘Mr Saturday’ had, a week earlier, produced one of the great qualifying laps in the wet at Spa to claim a front-row position for Williams – which ultimately led to him being classified second in the ‘race’ when the dismal weather meant the lights could not be turned green.

But seven days on, it was something of a hero-to-zero moment for the Briton, who was pushing for another Q3 appearance but then spun into the barriers, although he was able to make it back to the pits.

Explaining his shunt, Russell told Sky F1: “I was on a really good lap but I came out of the penultimate corner, a tight right-left, my tyres were going and I was pushing too hard and ultimately just attacked the last corner too much and lost the rear.

“Really sorry to the team because it’s not how we want to end our qualifying.

“There’s a bit of damage on the rear suspension so there shouldn’t be any penalties, no issues and nothing the guys wouldn’t be able to fix overnight.

“At that point it would have promoted me into the top 10. How that would have panned out later in the session I don’t know. I just felt I had to go for it and see what I could have done, but not how I want to finish my qualifying.”