Nicholas Latifi issues grim Canadian GP verdict amid Oscar Piastri talk

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You would think competing in your first-ever home F1 race, in the city you were born, would be a joyous occasion. But Nicholas Latifi is sounding like a beaten man ahead of this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix.

The son of billionaire businessman Michael Latifi, it has been argued by some that Nicholas’ presence on the grid owes more to his father’s bank balance than his ability behind the wheel. That said, he did win praise for his steady if unspectacular performances alongside the rapid George Russell in 2020 and 2021.

But since his infamous crash in Abu Dhabi at the end of last year, which inadvertently opened the door for Max Verstappen to snatch the title from Lewis Hamilton in hugely contentious fashion, it has been one disaster for another for the 26-year-old.

Latifi has been comprehensively outperformed by new teammate, Alex Albon, as well as suffering a succession of crashes. And despite the fact his father’s Sofina Foods company is one of Williams’ main sponsors, his place in the team is under threat, with highly-rated F2 champion Oscar Piastri waiting in the wings.

The Australian is reportedly set to join the team for 2023. There are even rumours he could replace Latifi mid-season. Therefore, the Canadian desperately needs a good weekend as F1 returns to Montreal for the first time since 2019. However, the former F2 championship runner-up has issued a grim prediction about his and team’s chances at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

“Looking at the weekend, we’re expecting Montreal to be one of the most challenging tracks on the calendar for a few reasons,” he said, reported Motorsport Week.

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“First, as a street track it will have a lot of bumps and character, and the curbs are unique and different to those at a lot of other tracks. We know how aggressive these cars feel and how they react on bumpy street tracks after Monaco and Baku. I’m expecting the car will feel very unpleasant with the bumps in Montreal and will be very, very tricky to get into the right window.

“It’s pretty clear we’re the car that’s struggling the most for pace so far this season, and that I’m not getting the feeling I need to get the most out of it either.

“Montreal is a track that, I can say with a fair amount of confidence right now, doesn’t really suit our car so much and it’s going to highlight a lot of its weaknesses again.”

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