Latifi suspects gap to Albon caused by 'something quite fundamental'

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Nicholas Latifi says he's "puzzled" by his current performance deficit to Williams teammate Alex Albon, and hints that the issue may lie somewhere under the hood of his car.

Earlier this season, Latifi was left to reflect on a tough start to his 2022 campaign, admitting that confidence issues had weighed on his performance and led to messy weekends.

Although Latifi has since gained a better understanding of his FW44 which has boosted somewhat his trust in his car, his pace relative to Albon - in qualifying or on race day - has hardly improved, and that's now a big source of frustration for the 26-year-old.

"We’ve been lacking so much pace, right from the off," said Latifi in Montreal, where the local hero qualified P18 and finished P16.

"On low fuel, high fuel, when tyres are in a good window and we’re managing tyre degradation, we’re just way too far off.

"We have to use this two-week break to understand why and see if we can find anything. For me, it has to be something quite fundamental.

"There’s no situation or condition on-track, even when people aren’t pushing flat out and I feel that the pace is there to our competitors.

"So we’ll see. Try and reset going into Silverstone, and go from there."

Williams is expected to roll out a revised FW44 at Silverstone next weekend, and the updates will hopefully benefit the team which been the slowest outfit on the grid this year.

So far, Williams has only scored two top-ten finishes, courtesy of Albon in Melbourne and in Miami.

While Latifi recognizes that his lack of trust in his car was a factor in his depressed performance in the first part of the year, the Canadian now suspects that his struggles go "far beyond a driving-style issue" and that something more "fundamental" is at play underneath the hood of his FW44.

"For sure, at the beginning of the season, there was part of that [lack of trust], and you could maybe still attribute some of the lap time delta to that," he explained.

"For me, looking far beyond that and past any of the confidence limitations that I feel I was having in the beginning, the pace would just not be there.

"There are situations where I just don’t feel that my car is capable of doing what I see he’s doing on the data, which is not a nice feeling to be in.

"It’s a bit puzzling. But again, we’ll use this two-week break to see what we can analyse."

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