December 2, 2023

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One of the standout performances in the playoffs came from Williams Nicholas Latifi. Not only did the Canadian make it into the top 10, equaling his best finish on every score, but he beat teammate Alex Albon for the first time this year, despite the British-born Thai getting a major upgrade on his car.

On the surface, this appears to be just the right time for Latifi, whose seat at Williams – and thus his place in Formula One – is under serious threat next year. Williams says nothing, but word on the street is that they have already agreed a deal with Alpine reserve Oscar Piastre for next season. It sure looked like Latifi could see the writing on the wall when he spoke to the media after qualifying.

“For me, it doesn’t really give me more comfort or relief,” he said. “It’s naturally a confidence booster. I know I can do these performances and I can drive as fast as I need to drive knowing that I deserve to be in Formula 1 when things are going well.

“Things weren’t going well, and there’s no secret about that. I don’t feel very comfortable with this outcome, but I obviously feel a great deal of satisfaction in it, if that makes sense.”

Realism also dominates his ideas of what might be possible in racing. “If all goes as it should, are the points realistic? Absolutely not. This is not pessimism, this is the reality.”

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