Nicholas resumes F2 title hunt in Hungary

Canada’s Nicholas Latifi will continue his quest for the FIA Formula 2 Championship title when racing resumes this weekend at the Hungaroring circuit in Hungary (2 – 4 August).

Nicholas heads to the venue, located on the outskirts of capital city Budapest, second in the championship, having taken three wins so far this season.

After a difficult time in Austria, Nicholas returned to the podium places at the most recent round in Britain and closed the gap on the F2 title lead.

Fresh from a three-week break, Nicholas will be back behind the wheel of his DAMS-run car for this weekend’s eighth round of the 12-event season.

“I’ve had some good results in Hungary before, so I’m feeling very positive about the week ahead,” said the 24-year-old, a previous visitor to the podium at the circuit in Formula 2.

“It’s a very different type of circuit to Silverstone. The Hungaroring is tighter and more twisty, a little like Monaco, so there’s not a lot of time for the tyres – and the driver – to cool down.

“Budapest in the middle of summer is often very hot as well, so it’s important we keep a close eye on tyre degradation.

“I’m eager to get going again after an exciting weekend at Silverstone where I got my momentum back after a tough few rounds.”

Last year’s visit to Hungary marked a crucial point in Nicholas’s F2 campaign.

“After a difficult period, Budapest was a turning point in understanding the new F2 car and how best to adapt myself to it,” he explained.

“From then on it was an upward trend, so I’m looking forward to going back there and putting that experience to good use.”

The 4.38km Hungaroring is sometimes likened to a kart track because of its narrow and twisty nature, while the lack of long straights makes overtaking difficult. It’s a circuit where it is important to have good one-lap pace to secure a strong grid position.

“Qualifying at the front at this track makes the races easier, and I know I can be competitive there from previous experiences,” Nicholas said.

“I’ve consistently been towards the front in qualifying this year, and that’s been crucial in getting the points, so it will be important to try and continue my charge.

“Obviously I’d love to get a pole position, but being more consistent across the whole year is more important for me.”

Nicholas’s race weekend begins on Friday with practice and the qualifying session, which determines the grid order for Saturday’s 37-lap Feature Race at 1010hrs (GMT+2). Sunday’s reverse-grid 28-lap Sprint Race will have lights out at 1125hrs.

Latifi closes on FIA Formula 2 title lead at Silverstone

Nicholas Latifi took points out of the FIA Formula 2 championship leader after two thrilling races at the historic Silverstone circuit in Great Britain this weekend.

The 24-year-old Canadian was keen to reignite his challenge in the wake of setbacks in recent rounds that prevented him from turning race pace into points.

Nicholas finished a close runner-up during Friday’s opening practice session and built on the performance by qualifying in P4 for Saturday’s Feature Race.

“P2 in practice set a good base for qualifying and finishing that session P4 on the grid was decent, but equally a little frustrating as the car wasn’t 100 percent,” he explained.

“On both my laps, and more specifically my second lap on new tyres, I had an engine rev limiter issue which cost me a chance to be P2 and maybe even a shot at pole.”

Starting the Feature Race from the second row on the grid, Nicholas stormed into contention as he scythed past DAMS team-mate Sergio Sette Camara into the Maggots/Becketts complex before later overhauling Guanyu Zhou in the pits.

A strong out-lap gave Nicholas the chance to battle Luca Ghiotto and the pair scrapped furiously for the lead before Latifi consolidated P2 for an additional 18 championship points.

“It was a very fun first 12 laps or so! I made some nice aggressive moves, and my team did an amazing pit stop, meaning I was able to get out in front of Zhou,” Nicholas reflected.

“That released me to push flat out on cold tyres to try and undercut Ghiotto, which was fun, and I managed to dice with him for the lead for a few laps. I got ahead, but unfortunately didn’t have the outright pace to hold on.

“It was a bit disappointing but nonetheless I was happy to be back on the podium after a difficult few rounds where we were not scoring the points we deserved.”

Nicholas therefore lined up P7 for Sunday’s reversed-grid encounter and he made up positions to classify in P5.

“The goal was to move forward, though I knew it would be difficult and that most of the job would be done at the start because it’s so tricky to overtake at this track,” he explained.

“I got a decent start, picked up a few positions, but after fighting hard the first few laps my tyres were pretty damaged and I had to try and nurse them back. More valuable points was a decent result.”

Nicholas departs Silverstone P2 in the Drivers’ Championship, moving to within 31 points of title leader Nyck de Vries.

The next round of the FIA Formula 2 Championship will take place at the Hungaroring, in Hungary, from 2-4 August.

High-speed Silverstone awaits F2 title challenger Latifi

Nicholas Latifi is determined to get his FIA Formula 2 Championship title challenge back on track this weekend when the action shifts to his favourite circuit – Silverstone in Great Britain.

The 24-year-old Canadian started his 2019 campaign with victories in Bahrain, Azerbaijan and Spain, but while his race-leading pace has remained, luck has recently not been on the DAMS driver’s side.

Placed P2 in the Drivers’ Championship as the second half of the 12-round season gets underway, Nicholas wants to reignite his challenge for the top spot.

“The last three rounds have not gone the way I wanted, so I’m definitely looking to turn things around,” Latifi said.

“I’m still P2 at mid-season, and if at the beginning of the year you had offered this to me I would have taken it. But after the results in the first three rounds, there’s definitely extra motivation to reclaim the lead.”

Nicholas believes there’s no better place to get his title tilt back in top gear than Silverstone, the scene of his maiden FIA Formula 2 victory in 2017.

“Silverstone is my favourite track on the calendar and I’m excited to get going there,” he explained.

“It’s got some awesome high-speed corners, and that’s what driving these high-downforce cars is all about. I’ve always enjoyed the track and I’ve had good results there, so I have some very good memories.”

Reflecting on a packed season so far, which has also included reserve driver duties with ROKiT Williams Racing, Latifi expects there will be more twists and turns to come in the championship battle.

“In terms of the overall picture it’s still looking good; I’ve taken wins, podiums and I can take a lot of confidence that in five out of the six rounds I’ve had the pace to fight at the front. There’s no doubt I can be consistently in the lead fight,” he said.

“What I need to do now is minimise the mistakes and the bad luck. Normally in the ebb and flow of a season you have a few setbacks and no season is consistently clean or without issues, especially in Formula 2, so for sure I can claw back the points and keep myself in the hunt.”

Nicholas’s race weekend begins on Friday 12 July with a 45-minute practice session that leads into qualifying later that day. Saturday’s Feature Race is scheduled for 1545hrs (local time) and the weekend rounds off on Sunday with the Sprint Race from 1000hrs.