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today is Jan 28, 2022

There was a brief time, following the Hungarian Grand Prix, when it looked as though Nicholas Latifi might end the season ahead of George Russell in the points standings.

That might have seemed an injustice, as up to that point Russell had never been out-qualified by his Williams team mate. Not only over the season so far, but throughout all of 2020 as well.

That situation changed (in both respects) after the summer break. Russell bagged nine points in the non-race at Spa, and if any driver deserved the half-points they took that weekend, it was surely the one who claimed a massive reward for his exceptional run to second on the grid in his Williams.

Even without the eight-point swing between the Williams pair that day, Russell would have still ended the season ahead on points, thanks to a couple of places in the lower reaches of the top 10.

Nonetheless Latifi, who was thrown in at the deep end last year as the series’ only full-year rookie in a season badly disrupted by the pandemic, fared increasingly well against his team mate as the year went on. He even achieved a few wins over one of F1’s most impressive qualifiers – a far cry from last year, when he was regularly four tenths of a second or more off his pace. The trend was generally in the right direction as well, though Latifi couldn’t match Russell’s feats in the wet.

Nonetheless Russell was dependably the team’s lead driver. On the few occasions Latifi was classified ahead there was usually a reason, such as Russell’s gearbox problem in Baku or the combination of a sub-par start in Hungary followed by an early ‘double stacked’ pit stop, following which he recovered to end the race on his team mate’s tail.

The Mercedes-bound Russell therefore enjoyed one of the most emphatic victories by a driver over his team mate this year. That follows his even more decisive margin over Latifi last year and conclusive out-pacing of Robert Kubica during his debut campaign, though the latter beat Russell to Williams’ only point of 2019.

Russell will, of course, face a much tougher fight in the shape of Lewis Hamilton next year at Mercedes.

Back at Williams, the team has shown faith in Latifi by keeping him on alongside the incoming Alexander Albon. However team CEO Jost Capito did admit he was reluctant to change both drivers heading into a season of considerable disruption on the technical side.

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George Russell vs Nicholas Latifi: Key stats

George Russell Nicholas Latifi 0% 25% 50% 75% 100% Faster in qualifying Finished ahead Share of points Laps ahead 19 14 16 909 3 3 7 186
Metric George Russell Nicholas Latifi Faster in qualifying 19 3 Finished ahead 14 3 Share of points 16 7 Laps ahead 909 186

George Russell vs Nicholas Latifi: Who finished ahead at each round

George Russell vs Nicholas Latifi: Qualifying gap

George Russell qualifying gap to Nicholas Latifi Gap (s) Bahrain Emilia-… Portugal Spain Monaco Azerba… France Styria Austria Great… Hungary Belgium Netherl… Italy Russia Turkey USA Mexico Brazil Qatar Saudi… Abu Dh… -1.2 -1.0 -0.8 -0.6 -0.4 -0.2 0.0 0.2 Race Gap (s)
Race Gap (s) Bahrain -0.62 Emilia-Romagna -0.332 Portugal -0.488 Spain -0.774 Monaco -0.35 Azerbaijan -0.4 France -0.002 Styria -0.142 Austria -0.288 Great Britain -0.583 Hungary -0.092 Belgium -1.106 Netherlands -0.829 Italy -0.035 Russia 0.051 Turkey -0.669 USA -0.249 Mexico -0.798 Brazil 0.056 Qatar -0.35 Saudi Arabia -0.251 Abu Dhabi 0.085

Times based on the last qualifying round at each race weekend in which both drivers set a time. Negative indicates George Russell was faster, positive means Nicholas Latifi was faster

In Russia Latifi set the quickest time when the pair went head-to-head in Q1, but did not set a time in Q2 due to his power unit penalty

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