Latifi takes confidence boost from first Q3 appearance

Mark Sutton/Motorsport Images

Latifi takes confidence boost from first Q3 appearance

Formula 1

Latifi takes confidence boost from first Q3 appearance

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Nicholas Latifi delivered the first Q3 appearance of his Formula 1 career at the British Grand Prix and admits it’s a big boost to his confidence after a tough 2022 so far.

The Canadian has started in the top 10 once before but was promoted due to issues for other drivers, after having been eliminated in Q2 in Belgium last year. At Silverstone on Saturday, Latifi impressively secured 10th place in qualifying and his first time in Q3 as he took advantage of wet conditions and believes it was a joint effort from himself and the team.

“It’s obviously a nice confidence booster for sure,” Latifi said. “It’s also my first Q3 so that’s also positive. It does always feel nicer — as I’m sure George (Russell) can attest to last year as well — when you know you’re doing it in a car that really shouldn’t be there.

“You do hope that when it rains then opportunities present themselves. Things were feeling good out of the pits. You hope that when it feels good then the lap time translates into being good as well, which hasn’t really always been the case so far this year for me. So that was obviously nice, and you just try and build in that rhythm.

“I think the team did a good job in placing me in a good place on track and I think that was also crucial. We saw in Q2 it was important to get those laps early and then the weather changed, so obviously there was a great job done by them as well and I did the laps at the time that I needed to.”

With the result coming amid speculation regarding his future, Latifi says he’s not overplaying the significance of the performance but believes it shows what he’s capable of if he can find consistency.

“For me it doesn’t really give me any more relief or comfort. It’s naturally a confidence booster and it is positive, and I know I am capable of these performances and I can drive as quick as I need to drive to know that I deserve to be in Formula 1 when things are going right. We saw that with last year on many occasions and just to see what George is doing this year in a much more competitive car…

“Things have not been going well this year, there’s no secret about that, but it is building some confidence. Momentum is maybe a strong word because it’s one good result, but these are the kinds of performances — and when I say that I don’t mean Q3 every race, because that’s unrealistic really — but a strong performance consistently is what’s needed, not just a flash.

“I hope it’s not a flash; we’ll see after the coming sessions, but that’s what’s going to be needed. I don’t think much relief in this result, but obviously a lot of satisfaction.”

Latifi didn’t set a competitive lap time in Q3 after going off at one stage and he says he had limited risk-taking knowing any further progress was unlikely.

“At that point we had already achieved something that I think was better than we could have hoped for. I was P10 in Q2 and I think realistically to get any more than that was always going to be tricky, and I kind of just went for it knowing that I couldn’t be any worse than P10. Conditions were much worse at that point and even at the end of Q2 I was struggling to keep the car on the track with more standing water in some places.

“That was honestly the only frustrating part of the session for me. And I must have had some damage afterwards because the car was very squirrelly and even if I did a lap time it was going to be P10, so we just boxed to not risk anything else. But overall, positive.”

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