The gap between Russell and Latifi in F1 is not “as big as everyone thinks”


Russell is Williams’ best driver since joining the team in 2019 and has overqualified Latifi at every Grand Prix since the Canadian made his F1 debut at the start of the 2020 season.

The British driver will be leaving Williams for Mercedes next year, suggesting the team won’t be as strong.

Russell will be replaced by Alex Albon alongside Latifi next season.

When asked how much weaker Williams would be without Russell, Capito said: “It’s hard to say. I think when you see today [at Monza] in qualifying, Nicky missed four hundredths of a second in qualifying.

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“So you can’t say we have a huge gap between George and Nicky in qualifying, in the race also when you look at Hungary in the race, Nicky did a fantastic job [there].

“I don’t think the gap is as big as everyone thinks or seems.

“He’s had some issues in qualifying this season, Nicky, that weren’t caused by him. And he would have been able to be almost or even George’s speed.

George Russell, Williams FW43B, Nicholas Latifi, Williams FW43B and Esteban Ocon, Alpine A521

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Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

“And I’m absolutely sure Alex can also establish himself in the team very quickly and do his best. So I’m absolutely confident that we have two very good drivers next year.”

Latifi had one of his strongest weekends yet in the Italian Grand Prix, racing in the scoring position until his race was hampered by the safety car period triggered by the accident between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.

He then finished in 11th position, two places behind Russell, but the Briton believes his teammate deserved a better result.

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“Nicholas did an amazing job, to be honest,” Russell said. “He deserved to be in the points. He’s really getting stronger and stronger week after week, finding a lot of confidence.

“He’s doing a really good job and he kept his seat on absolute merit this year.

“So I have a lot of respect and thought [I think he says here] for the way he works, how he conducts his business, how he tries to improve.

“And like I said, he did a really really good job.”