“George has been able to adapt to a bit better than me”- Nicholas Latifi openly admits about his teammate doing better than him.
George Russell is lauded as the next big thing in Formula 1, but before the second last race of the season, he could not even score a single point in the past two seasons.
Though much of the blame goes to Williams’ car quality, which has denied Nicholas Latifi and Russell’s duo to showcase their full potential, Latifi talks about his predicament with the team so far and admits his teammate is doing better than him.
“The big thing is we are driving the car we have, which doesn’t have the most downforce. And it’s not necessarily the most driveable car in terms of all phases of the corner,” Latifi told The Race.
“We speak a lot about how’s the through-corner balance of the car, what’s the balance of the car when you brake when you turn the wheel when you get to the apex when you get to the exit, and you start applying throttle.”
“Having something that is consistent across all of those phases, or at least consistent to the inputs you give as a driver, helps quite a lot with the confidence.”
“I think our car is maybe a bit more sensitive to not naturally how I’d like to drive, which is pushing the entries and really attacking the corners on the brakes.”
“That’s maybe been a bit of a struggle at some times, reminding myself ‘don’t do that, you have to drive more in this way’. It’s clearly been something George has been able to adapt to a bit better than me.”
Learnt a lot from George Russell
2020 being Latifi’s rookie season, he has admitted that the transition from F2 to F1 was overwhelming for him, and in a way, he learnt a lot from his teammate in 2020.
“Last year in F2, there was a car change, so it wasn’t the same thing; it was a similar environment for those years that I spent there. You can see very quickly what your strengths and weaknesses are,” he said.
“Then, jumping into Formula 1, you’re not only driving many higher-performing cars, but you’re up against the best drivers in the world. Going up against George, it’s great for me to benchmark myself against someone like that.”
“You learn a lot more about yourself as a driver because you have to adapt. You can’t just stay in your comfort zone of what worked for you in the past and how you could drive. You have to re-wire your brain sometimes, unlearn habits.”
“A big part of being a Formula 1 driver, being a top-level driver in any discipline, is being able to make these adaptations for good or for bad.”