Nicholas Latifi admitted he was tired after his first day as a Williams race driver, after completing more than 100 laps in the afternoon of the Pirelli tire test in Abu Dhabi.
Williams was running Roy Nissany for a spell of both days of the test at the Yas Marina Circuit before Latifi took over on Wednesday afternoon. Managing 107 laps — nearly two race distances — Latifi ended up with a best lap 0.2s quicker than George Russell managed on a softer compound on Tuesday, and was happy with his efforts despite the workload.
“It was a good day — I’m a bit knackered right now, to be honest!” Latifi said. “It was a lot of laps in a very short period of time, I only jumped in the car at 12 o’clock. It was very productive. I got to experience the new 2020 tires — which is for sure going to be good experience going into next year — on both low fuel qualifying-style runs and then more importantly for me the full fuel race simulations, because that’s the one thing that I have still been lacking in terms of the experience.
“Plenty of laps, no issue and pretty smooth, so I’m pretty pleased with my first official day on the new job!
“When I walked in the paddock on Monday afternoon it already felt a bit different, but driving today is a different feeling behind the wheel. It’s quite cool.”
While Wednesday’s running has left Latifi aware of where he need to improve his fitness, he says his main focus over the winter is likely to be on preparations at the Williams factory to understand all the demands on him technically.
“To a certain extent it will be very similar to what I’ve been doing all my life because I’ve still been racing in competitive championships. For sure the training will change a little bit — after today I think I’ve definitely got to work on my neck a little bit more! But it will largely be the same.
“I think there will be a lot more preparation going on at the factory ahead of my first season because there are so many more things in Formula 1, like procedures that you really need to be on top of and not have any question marks in your head going into the first race of the season. So I think I’m going to spend much more time in the factory than I would have in Formula 2 and previous years.”