Nicholas Latifi’s season can be defined in two parts. Firstly, an utterly dominant start and the confidence that seemed to be pulsating through him in Barcelona, culminating in his call-up to the Williams F1 team for FP1. Secondly, a more difficult period that saw him drop to 2nd in the standings and unable to achieve more victories. During that period, he still picked up 46 points, but of course, he wanted wins.

That is why the Round 8 Feature Race victory in Budapest took on so much significance for Latifi. It marked a return to the top step and brought an end to a period that will be defined as consistent. The Canadian said himself: “The key to any Championship is consistency,” but it doesn’t give you that spine-tingling buzz that winning does.

“It felt very nice to get back onto the top step,” he elated. “Coming into the round, we knew we were going to have the pace to be competitive. Every win you get always feels nice, especially this one. After not being on the top step since Barcelona, it was nice to experience that.

“I was happy to kind of reward myself and the team for getting through a difficult period of, lets say, three tough rounds, and to have scored some good points. I am really pleased to have won, and also, in such a dominant way.”

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There was a section of that second period - the aforementioned three-round stint - which frustrated Latifi in particular. It began in Monaco after he had been so controlled in Free Practice, but then struggled in Qualifying - he ended the weekend with just two points. He didn’t fare much better in Le Castellet or Spielberg either. Mistakes were made during that time and Latifi admits that himself, but largely, it was ruled by misfortune.

“The period from Monaco to Red Bull Ring, it was three frustrating rounds,” he recalled. “If I am being honest, it was only really in Paul Ricard that I didn’t have, shall I say, the outright pace to fight for podiums and wins, and on that weekend I still scored 14 points, which was an average haul. At Monaco and the Red Bull Ring, the pace was there for both of them.

“In Monaco, it was my own mistakes which kind of took me out of contention. At the Red Bull Ring, obviously getting spun around by my teammate in the Feature Race kind of ruined the opportunity to fight for good points, but we were one of the quickest ones on track after that.”

Ahead of Round 8, with the summer break looming and a time for reflection, Latifi was determined to get the win he craved and he would have been relieved to do so in the Feature Race. He has since headed back off to his home of Toronto, in Canada, to enjoy some down time.

He continued: “It was definitely nice to have a really strong round going into the summer break. I mean, whenever you go into a long period where you don't get to drive so much, you always want to end on a high, because if you have a bad round and then a long time to wait till the next one, it is always more difficult and easier to dwell on it.

“For sure, winning the Feature Race gives us good momentum going into the break and really high motivation to do everything we can to come back strongly and to keep scoring those points.

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“I am back home in Canada now, I flew back home on the Sunday night after the race in Budapest, and I plan to spend most of the time back home in Toronto. We have a family cottage on the lake as well, not too far from where I live, so I’ll probably spend some time there relaxing and enjoying some water sports.”

As Round 9 in Spa-Francorchamps approaches, the Canadian’s attention will switch back to Championship mode, when his focus will be firmly on closing the gap between himself and Nyck De Vries at the top.

“Once we get closer to the race in Spa, I will do some more training, both physical and driving, to get back into driving shape and make sure that I am sharp - kind of knock the dust off before we have to go straight back into it.

“If there is one area specifically that I think is going to make the difference, it is going to be to try and get some pole positions. If my rival keeps getting the poles, then it kind of negates the points advantage if I finish ahead of him.

“I would also say that I am looking to improve in the Sprint Races. I have had some quite good Feature Races, but then sometimes struggle to make the progress that I hope, based off the pace we showed in Race 1.

“There is still a lot of points to be scored on Sundays in Formula 2 and I think that will be important in the last four rounds to chip away at the gap to Nyck.”

That gap currently stands at 30 points and Latifi will hope to get off to a positive start with one of those pole positions come Round 9, at the end of August.