Nicholas Latifi had another accident that once again defined a Formula 1 race

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Nicholas Latifi’s accident that generated the pace car at the Saudi GP

Nicholas Latifi was again decisive for the definition of the race with a crash of his that forced the neutralization in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix of Formula 1 run this Sunday and that had the triumph of Max Verstappen (Red Bull) as the winner. But until the Canadian incident, the Dutchman was third and his partner, Sergio “Checo” Perezwas leading after starting from pole positions.

On the last date of last year, Latifi had a crash in Abu Dhabi, in the last laps of the race held at the Yas Marina circuit. In order to remove the Williams from him, the race had to be neutralized and that is where the controversy arose in which Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) was winning, but Verstappen was second and the then Race Director, Michael Masi, ordered the five stragglers ahead of Max to make up their lap. This allowed the Dutchman (who had new tires) to fall behind the Englishman. He overcame it, won the competition and was champion.

At that moment, social networks exploded against Latifi, who suffered attacks, mostly from the English public who accused him of being responsible for the loss of the title of Hamilton, who then came out to repudiate the attacks against his colleague. Also the Mercedes (the injured) and Red Bull (the champion) teams supported Nicholas.

This is how Latifi's Williams was against the wall (TV capture)
This is how Latifi’s Williams was against the wall (TV capture)

This Sunday something similar happened, since Checo Pérez won with 2.3 seconds over Leclerc and if he kept the positions, the Mexican was worthy of victory after achieving his first pole position in 12 seasons in the Máxima. It was on lap 16 when Latifi had another accident that changed the course of the race.

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The Canadian lost control of his Williams entering a corner and ended up hitting the wall. He damaged the entire right side of his car that was left by the concrete fenders. The runner suffered no consequences, but the stewards ordered the entry of the safety car to remove Latifi’s car and clean the track.

A few seconds before, Ferrari made a radio call to its drivers and Red Bull advanced the entry of Pérez. Leclerc inherited the lead and stayed on the track knowing that a couple of laps were going to pass until the crash sector was ready. Once the Monegasque was first, then the Scuderia forced him to enter and as the race was still with the safety car on the track he kept the lead.

Checo Pérez got 2.3 seconds off Leclerc at the start of the race (REUTERS / Hamad I Mohammed)
Checo Pérez got 2.3 seconds off Leclerc at the start of the race (REUTERS / Hamad I Mohammed)

At the restart Leclerc was first, followed by Verstappen, Checo Pérez and Sainz, who claimed to the stewards that he crossed the safety car line earlier when leaving the pits compared to Checo. Without the authorities notifying the Mexican that he should give him back his position, he gave in to the Ferrari driver.

Then Checo tried to account for Sainz, but could not overcome him. The native of Guadalajara finished fourth and was the big loser on Sunday, due to the incident caused by Latifi, but also because his team made him enter first when he heard the radio call from Ferrari. Although it should be clarified that Red Bull’s order was a few seconds before the Canadian crash.

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Beyond the responsibilities, the truth is that Checo lost a great opportunity to achieve a deserved victory since in the previous Saudi GP he had been the fastest. Although now the Mexican has no consolation, the important thing is that his team corrected the mechanical failures of the first date in which both drivers left and this weekend they showed their competitiveness. He returned to victory with Verstappen and Pérez showed that he too can do it.

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