The Montreal-born driver, however, said he didn’t even notice the mistake before he got out of the car
By Yuri Coghe
Nicholas Latifi enjoyed an almost mistake-free first Monaco GP as an F1 driver on Sunday.
The Canadian driver forgot to connect his drinks tube before starting the race, having to complete all 78 laps in the Principality without properly hydrating. He started 18th and finished P15 while racing with a special celebratory helmet in honour of Williams’ 750 Formula 1 races.
“I think the only mistake I made was before the race even started, I forgot to put the drinks tube in my mouth,” Latifi said after the race. “I didn’t realize until afterwards so it was fine, but I was like ‘Yeah I’m a bit thirsty now!’ So I just downed (a drink) after I got out of the car, but it was fairly straightforward I guess.”
“It’s for sure not ideal, I was probably a bit dehydrated after that. You don’t really get much of a rest around this track, even in the straights you’re turning and probably the extra mental energy that goes into this one makes you work a bit hard.”
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Latifi raced in Monaco as a GP2/F2 driver from 2016 to 2019 but had to wait a year to do it as an F1 driver since the race was called off in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the year of his F1 debut. It was the first time since the series started in 1950 that Monaco didn’t feature in the calendar.
“Take into account that it’s also my first time here (as an F1 driver) so it’s maybe going to be a bit harder for me than it is for a guy like Lewis (Hamilton) or Kimi (Raikkonen) that has done so many races around here”, Latifi said. “But yeah, I train for it. I was fine. Like I said I didn’t even notice until I got out of the car and I’m like ‘My mouth’s a bit dry… Oh yeah my tube’s not in my mouth!’”
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Despite the unusual challenge faced by the #6 driver, he left Monaco with a good feeling about the race. Latifi was able to quickly bounce back from an FP3 crash, competing in the qualifying later that day after Williams fixed his car and completing the weekend without other accidents.
“It was definitely one of the most difficult races mentally I’ve had to drive, just from keeping the concentration element,” said Latifi. “I knew it was going to be that way right from the first consecutive laps I did in FP1, I was like ‘Oh, it’s a race of keeping it out of the walls, not making any mistakes, it’s going to be tricky’”.
“I’m relatively pleased with the race, I think I maximized what I could,” he said. “I got ahead of Yuki (Tsunoda) at the start, which was great. I think the pace of our car, I was pushing George (Russell) along quite well and I managed to go quite a bit further than him, managed the tyres quite good.”