Following the news that Nicholas Latifi will be departing the team at the end of the 2022 season, we’ve decided to take a look back through some of our No6’s best moments at Williams Racing.
As the man himself said, it has been “a fantastic journey” and we’re now looking to end strongly and continue to push in the final six rounds of the season.
The Canadian is set to break into our top 10 list of Grand Prix starters come the 2022 climax in Abu Dhabi, so there’s still time to add to just some of our favourite Nicky moments that we’ve highlighted below.
After making the long trip Down Under, the world suddenly ground to a halt in March 2020 and the F1 season was put on hold.
As the only rookie in the 2020 field, Nicky would have to wait until the first weekend of July that year to finally tick off his debut, and he’d enjoy a solid Austrian Grand Prix.
Starting from the back, he kept his nose clean during a hectic race that featured three full Safety Car periods to eventually cross the line in P11, a little over six seconds away from a points finish in his maiden outing.
First Points in Budapest
The 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix was a hectic afternoon, but the team left Budapest with a double-points finish for the first time in almost three years.
A multi-car collision at the first corner in damp conditions took many at the top end of the field out, whilst our pair of Nicky and George Russell tip-toed through the debris ahead of a red flag.
At the restart, our duo dived into the pit to fit dry tyres, immediately putting us in a strong position at the Hungaroring, an infamously tough venue to overtake at.
Our No6 finished P8, with George just behind him, both of their first points for the team and it would get better still.
A disqualification for Sebastian Vettel bumped our duo up one spot each, meaning Nicky took home six points for his P7.
Much like London buses, you wait a while for your first points finish in the sport and two come along at once. Nicky placed P9 in the following race in Belgium to further add to his 2021 tally.
Ticking off that home race
There’s nothing like feeling the love from your home fans and for Nicky, he was supposed to experience this just nine races into his opening season.
But the pandemic had other ideas, meaning he’d have to wait until his third season to return to race in Montreal. Not only was it his first F1 race in Canada, but his first car race too, having moved to Europe in his junior years to pursue his motorsport dream.
It was well worth the wait, as fans clambered for autographs and selfies with the home hero from his arrival at the airport right through the end of Grand Prix Sunday.
Finishing in P16 wouldn’t have been what he was dreaming of the night before, but he admitted it had been a realistic expectation, and it didn’t dampen his spirits after a memorable week.
Let’s just not talk about any groundhogs.
As previously mentioned, Nicky’s best qualifying result had been P11. Well, that all changed in Silverstone this year.
In the typical British summertime weather, he aced the conditions and produced laps when it mattered to progress into Q3 for the very first time.
There were celebrations in the garage too, as well as a message over the airwaves from the boss.
In the race, Nicky would spend the vast majority of the Grand Prix competing in the points but would ultimately slip to P12 whilst nursing damage to his floor.
“And you are currently P1”
There’s just something about Budapest, isn’t there? In a damp Saturday FP3 session at the 2022 Hungarian Grand Prix, Nicky would top the timesheet after an impressive lap left him a mighty 0.661s ahead of the rest of the field.
In doing so, he became the first Williams driver since 2017 to finish any session in P1 – the last being Felipe Massa who did so in FP3 at Monza.
The Formula One community united behind Nicky in what was certainly a memorable moment, one he later shared his happiness about.
“FP3 was amazing, we were obviously not expecting to be that competitive. We know that when it rains, it levels out everything out a bit more, and we’ve been competitive [in these conditions] before.
“It was cool to go P1, and with Alex [Albon] in P3, it wasn’t by fluke either. Every other driver was out there setting lap times at the same time.”
WATCH: Pit crew react to Nicky's Hungarian FP3 P1