Nicholas Latifi criticises other driver for being in his blind-spot

Outgoing Williams driver Nicholas Latifi wasn't pleased with the stewards handing him a penalty following the incident.

Following on from being awarded a five-place grid penalty for the Japanese Grand Prix, outgoing Williams driver Nicholas Latifi has revealed his frustration at the FIA failing to listen to his side of the story, after his collision with Zhou Guanyu at the Singapore Grand Prix.

Whilst battling for P18 at the wet Marina Bay Circuit, Latifi seemingly pushed Zhou into the wall on the entry to Turn Five.

The collision saw Zhou’s front-right tyre collapse inwards, resulting in an immediate retirement from the race he was treating as his home Grand Prix.

Latifi did manage to crawl round to the pits, but then retired from the two-hour long GP.

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It was quite clear to see whose fault the collision was, with Latifi appearing to have simply been unsighted as to where the Alfa Romeo was.

The duo were actual side-by-side from the exit of Turn Three down to the entry of Turn Five, making it somewhat surprising that Latifi didn’t see the Chinese driver.

The Williams driver was awarded a five-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race at Suzuka, as well as two penalty points added to his superlicence.

Latifi accepted that by the “rulebook” he was at fault; however, he believes not everything was “considered” due to the stewards not calling the Canadian into the office.

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“Watching all the different onboards, I think, if you’re going off the rulebook, it’s clear he came up alongside me and I didn’t leave him enough space,” Latifi told media.

“I think [there were] things that were maybe not considered, which is as well maybe one of the frustrations, that I didn’t have a chance to go to the stewards, because they didn’t ever summon me, like normally happens when there’s an incident between two drivers.”

The pair, whose collision took place on Lap Seven, had been running together during the opening laps of the race.

With this in mind, Latifi was surprised that Zhou went onto a part of the circuit where he couldn’t “see him”, as a result of the spray flicked up on the wet street surface.

Zhou supposedly was in Latifi’s “blindspot” on the run into the corner, who believes the Alfa Romeo driver should’ve known where he was going to go.

“I was taking the same line I was taking every single lap beforehand,” the Canadian explained.

“And I did actually look into my mirrors, both ways. You see from the onboard that I glanced in both directions but the problem was, just because of the difference in lines, he was driving in the blind spot of the mirror the whole way down to the corner.

“So, in that sense, as drivers we all know, there’s a massive blind spot in the car.

“And again, I did look, so if he’s driving in a place where I can’t see him, when I do make an effort to look, and I just then take my normal line – obviously, he ended up being there – but if I can’t see him, because he’s driving in a place where he should expect I can’t see him, especially on a street track in the wet. So yeah, it’s tricky.”

The penalty awarded does seem understandable given that Latifi was clearly at fault, although, the 27-year-old is confident that had the FIA summoned him after the race to explain his side of things, then the penalty may have been lighter.

Latifi is finding the penalty difficult to accept and has called for “consistency” from the race director and the stewards.

“If I would have got penalised anyways in the end, after being able to at least give my side of the story, it doesn’t really make much of a difference, then I would have accepted that,” the 27-year-old commented.

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“But I guess just not being able to go to the stewards and give my side of the events and give different points that I think weren’t considered, that was probably a bit frustrating.

“Especially when we just want… we’re always talking about the consistency amongst decisions and penalties and whatnot.”

Latifi started the 2022 Japanese Grand Prix from last, but he benefitted from the chaotic race and an bold tyre change to finish P9 at Suzuka.