Latifi shocked when told of purple Sector 1 time

Jamie Woodhouse
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 had no idea until he met the media that on his final Q1 lap in Hungary, he had set the fastest time in Sector 1.

The final hour of practice before qualifying had been contested in wet conditions, though as the track dried towards the end of the session, Latifi took full advantage to finish P1, with Williams team-mate Alex Albon claiming P3.

By the time Q1 came around though, the track was dry, so that surely meant Williams would take a few steps back?

Ultimately, they slipped a long way down the order, Latifi actually slowest in Q1, though it looked like lightning was perhaps about to strike twice.

As drivers made their final attempts at securing safe passage to Q2, Latifi was grabbing the spotlight again as he posted the fastest time of the session in the opening sector.

There was a keen sense of anticipation then as he approached the end of the lap, but he would get the final corner all wrong, meaning his time was not enough to escape the foot of the standings.

And as Latifi headed over to the media pen, the first thing that was mentioned was that purple Sector 1. But it seems nobody had mentioned it to him beforehand.

“Was I purple [in] Sector 1?” he asked with great surprise.

“I was actually purple Sector 1! In the dry too! Okay.”

Ultimately, Latifi said it was disappointing to see that lap undone by an error, a lap which he felt was on the cusp of making Q2 rather than topping the session.

“Yeah, it was looking to be on that cusp of getting into Q2,” he said. “Just at the last corner, I don’t know if it was a gust of wind, I think there is a tailwind in that corner, so I don’t know if that was it, but it was quite different to the previous lap, the balance I had.

“It’s frustrating, obviously I was by no means expecting to be anywhere near where we were in FP3, obviously if it was wet that could have given us a better chance, but we were lower in the dry yesterday, and it just shows we’re still missing a lot of downforce.

“And this we’ve known for a while, even with the upgrade package, so it’s unfortunate, it’s frustrating, especially again from my side the mistake in the last corner.”

With the race set to also be contested in dry conditions, Latifi is not expecting a strong result, unless plenty of drivers go “bowling” again like at the start in Hungary last year.

That left Latifi running as high as P3 at one stage.

Asked what is possible in the Hungarian GP this time around, Latifi replied: “It’s tricky, on a normal straightforward race we’re missing a lot in dry conditions, so bar somebody else going to play bowling with their F1 cars like last year, then I’m not expecting much to be honest.

“It’s frustrating, but again that’s the package we have at the moment.”