Damon Hill says Nicholas Latifi was not fast enough at Monza to stay in F1

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Nicholas Latifi looking down. Montreal, June 2022. Credit: PA Images
Nicholas Latifi looking down. Montreal, June 2022. Credit: PA Images

Damon Hill has no sympathy for Nicholas Latifi, the Canadian’s performance at the Italian Grand Prix showing he “hasn’t got the pace” to stay in Formula 1.

Latifi had a new team-mate for the Italian Grand Prix, Nyck de Vries a late call-up after Alex Albon came down with appendicitis on Saturday morning.

That meant the 2021 Formula E champion had just one practice hour to get used to the car and its quirks around the Monza circuit before taking to the track for qualifying.

Yet he outqualified Latifi, De Vries progressing to Q2 in his first ever F1 qualifying session while the Canadian failed to make it out of Q1.

Both drivers were elevated up the order for the grid as a result of engine penalties for rival drivers, De Vries starting eighth with Latifi P10.

While the Dutchman held his position off the line, Latifi immediately lost places and the downward slide continued.

De Vries went on to finish the grand prix P9, the 67th driver to score on debut, while Latifi was down in 15th place.

The result means the 27-year-old, in his one-off appearance, is ahead of the Canadian in the Drivers’ standings with Latifi yet to score a single point this season.

Hill says he does not deserve to retain his Williams seat for the 2023 championship.

“I’m sorry but this is the way it is,” the 1996 World Champion told Sky Sports. “In this case, Nicholas hasn’t got the pace he needs to stay in that position in Formula 1.

“He’s had some good moments but along comes a guy who’s not even driven in the grand prix before and he’s done a fantastic job.”

As for De Vries, the Mercedes reserve driver is hoping to find a spot on next year’s grid, potentially Latifi’s.

Hill says having the entire F1 paddock talking about him is a good start.

“I know he had grid penalties and stuff like that, which helped him up the grid, but he still delivered in qualifying and didn’t really make a mistake,” he said.

“He’s done enough for us to be talking about him, he’s got Toto [Wolff] talking about him. That’s what you need to do to become a Formula 1 driver.”

De Vries’ two points mean Williams’ tally for 2023 is now up to six, but the team remain locked to the bottom spot in the Constructors’ Championship.

Read more: Conclusions from the Italian GP; a win for Max Verstappen and Nyck de Vries

 

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