Nicholas Latifi has apologized for playing an unexpected role in determining the World Champion after his crash in Abu Dhabi.
Latifi was having an uneventful evening under the lights in Yas Marina Island on Sunday. Then, with just 5 laps to go, the Williams driver lost control of the rear of his car and hit the barriers. His accident brought out the safety car, which changed the course of the race (and possibly history).
2008: IS THAT GLOCK
2021: IS THAT LATIFI
— WTF1 (@wtf1official) December 12, 2021
Max Verstappen was in 2nd place behind Lewis Hamilton when the safety car was deployed. The former decided to pit for softer tyres to get a speed advantage over his rival in the closing stages of the race. He came out of the pits with 5 cars in between himself and Hamilton.
However, a controversial call from race director Michael Masi saw all lapped cars overtake the safety car. Furthermore, the safety car ended right before the start of the 58th and final lap. Verstappen was able to comfortably go past Hamilton to win the race and his first World Title.
It was a chain of events that started with Latifi’s crash. In an interview after the race, the Canadian driver insisted that he never meant to make the mistake.
Nicholas Latifi wasn’t aware of the Verstappen vs Hamilton battle up front
Latifi was battling with Mick Schumacher towards the back of the grid when he crashed into the barriers. So, it was very believable when the 26 year old said that he wasn’t aware of the situation up front.
“I wasn’t aware of the situation of the race up until then.” said Latifi. “Obviously it was never my intention to inadvertently influence that, but I made a mistake and ruined my own race.”
Huge drama as Nicholas Latifi goes into the barriers – he reports that he is ok
But the Safety Car comes out and Max Verstappen immediately goes into the pits for some fresh tyres
— Formula 1 (@F1) December 12, 2021
“It was never my intention and I can only apologize for influencing and creating an opportunity. But again, I made a mistake.” he added.
The Montreal born driver lamented at the fact that he ruined his own race. He explained how he was struggling for grip when he lost control of his FW43.
“We were just really struggling for grip through the next sequence of corners, and especially where I ended up going off. It’s been a tricky corner all weekend for me, so dirty tyres, dirty air and I made a mistake.” he concluded.