Williams: Latifi's strong Imola F1 practice form "disturbed" Russell

Russell explained after qualifying that he had been “just confused” why Latifi had “had the upper hand on me every single lap” throughout practice and Q1, with the Briton trailing in each session except FP3.

Russell said “everything came alive, the car felt great” when the Williams drivers used a set of medium tyres for their first runs in Q2 – the first time the duo had reached the middle segment of qualifying together since the 2020 Hungarian GP – and he stayed ahead of Latifi when they switched back to the softs to seal 12th and 14th on the grid.

“Nicholas just came out of the blocks flying yesterday and was strong right from the start and I think perhaps that disturbed George a little bit and he’d got his head around that by this afternoon.

Robson added: “We desperately want that new option for some flexibility tomorrow, particularly with the weather forecast as it is [high chance of rain showers].”

Robson also put Latifi’s strong form this weekend – he has taken his highest F1 grid spot, beating Alpine’s Fernando Alonso with an identical time the Canadian set first, so starts ahead – down to him being “mentally strong this weekend”.

“I think having the car just consistent and behaving well all round the lap, I'm sure helps and plays a small part in that.

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