Nicholas Latifi is not happy with the Italian Grand Prix stewards, accusing them of sleeping on corner-cutting at the first chicane on lap one.
Latifi explained space on the Monza track was at a premium heading into the Rettifilo chicane at the race start, unhappy to see the actions of Haas’ Kevin Magnussen as well as how the stewards had responded to that.
Both Williams cars started the Italian Grand Prix from inside the top 10, aided by a host of grid penalties, with Latifi launching from P10 and his team-mate for the weekend, Nyck de Vries, P8 on the grid.
Latifi could not maintain that position, ultimately crossing the line P15 ahead of only Magnussen, who had sustained damage to his car as a result of contact with Valtteri Bottas at the start, that nudge from behind sending him through the escape area as he emerged ahead of Latifi.
Magnussen was given a five-second penalty after it was decided he had not returned the place fairly to Latifi, although the Canadian believed the stewards were late in their reaction, Latifi also claiming Magnussen was not the only driver up to a bit of corner-cutting.
“I just got really compromised in the first corner, just got sandwiched between cars and tried to avoid getting crashed into,” said Latifi, quoted by RacingNews365.com.
“Then there were a few cars, I think one of the Haas [cars], cut the corner with no consequence at all.
“He was behind me at the first corner and then he exited a few places in front of me, so I think the stewards were a bit asleep there because it was multiple laps and they didn’t do anything.
“That first lap and then being stuck behind the Haas, which in clean air I think I was quicker than, but the problem is we had no grip through the corners.
“They were pulling like a second through the corners and we gained maybe some of it back on the straights.
“The race was over really pretty much after the first corner because then you’re the first out-of-position car that all the leaders come through, and [then] not the leaders but the cars that are going to come through – the Red Bull, Mercedes, Ferrari – you just lose two seconds each time.”
It feels like Nicholas Latifi is clutching at straws now
Regardless of the impact on his race that opening lap had, Latifi was woeful at Monza as he suffered the embarrassment of being outqualified by De Vries, who received the very late call to replace the ailing Alex Albon before FP3, with De Vries then comfortably the stronger driver in the race.
De Vries went on to finish P9 and score points on his debut, while Latifi has yet to score a point this season.
Especially wobbly is the claim about the leading pack, as it is not like Latifi was the only driver being lapped, so it feels like now he is scraping the barrel for reasons why he is not getting the performance needed out of the FW44 to secure his future.
If not De Vries, then it now looks very likely someone will be taking Latifi’s Williams seat for 2023.