Latifi’s confidence “on another level” heading into second F1 season

The Canadian said his main target for 2021 is to improve on his qualifying performance

By Yuri Coghe
2019 F2 runner-up Nicholas Latifi finished close to the points on three occasions in the 2020 F1 season (Photo: Nicholas Latifi/Twitter)

A rookie no more.

When Nicholas Latifi sees the lights go out in Bahrein for the first race of the year on Mar. 26, the Canadian will start his second season as an F1 driver – and he can already feel the difference.

“Whenever you go into a new category as a rookie, there’s always a lot to learn and a lot of reservation and hesitation at some point,” Latifi said to on Tuesday. “Now going as a second year, for sure my confidence going in knowing what to expect is at another level. I’m looking forward to building on the foundation that was laid upon last year.”

As said by in our in-depth analysis dissecting the Montreal native’s debut season and previewing his aspirations and targets for 2021, Latifi knows working on his qualifying performance should be a priority.

The 25-year-old Canadian was beaten 16-0 on Saturdays by his teammate, George Russell, one of the highest-rated youngsters in the grid.

“Obviously, Saturday performance is the one I always kept highlighting. I think I was in a fortunate position to have a teammate who’s been dubbed now ‘Mr. Saturday’; we know he’s getting the maximum out of the car on Saturday so it gives me a nice reference to shoot for,” he said.

Latifi feels more comfortable with his race performance, having finished 11th on three occasions in 2020 – a position shy of scoring his first career point in F1.

“The Sundays seemed, although there are tonnes of room for improvement in all areas, to be the area that was coming a bit more naturally to me, as was my strength in F2, the race management, the strategy side of things,” said the 2019 F2 runner-up.

“But really (I aim to be) nailing everything together and more taking my teammate out of it. Just doing and completing a lap that I feel satisfied with, because when I was able to do that, whether it was in practice or qualifying, the times were there or thereabouts where they should have been. Just consistently getting that right on Saturday qualifying,” said Latifi.

Latifi’s team, Williams Racing unveiled the FW43B, their first challenger for a full season under new management after 47 years, last week.

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