Latifi tops off great weekend for Canadians
Toronto driver’s victory at Silverstone extends strong season on F1’s feeder circuit
Sunday was a great day for Canadians in international and domestic motorsport.
At the Silverstone circuit in England, Nicholas Latifi of Toronto won the FIA Formula 2 race, the main support series at F1races. Driving for the France-based Driot Associés Mo- tor Sport team, Latifi won the race held Sunday just before the British Grand Prix.
Latifi, who is sponsored by the Royal Bank of Canada, said he had to defend his position early in the race but “once I got my head down, I was able to add to my advantage while looking after the tires. I’m really thrilled to get the win.”
Latifi, 22, has scored nine top 10s in 12 races so far in 2017. He’s finished third three times and second once.
At the Honda Indy in Toronto, in the U.S. Formula 2000 series, Parker Johnstone of Red Deer, Alta., won the race Sunday – his second trip to the top step of the podium in two days. Driving for Exclusive Autosport, a team based in Saskatoon, Sask., Johnstone easily handled 17 other competitors from the United States and elsewhere.
Johnstone, who accepted his trophy Sunday while wrapped in the Canadian flag, said the future looks bright for Canadian motorsport generally. “The next decade could belong to Canada,” he said.
Kevin Lacroix of Saint-Eustache, Que., won the NASCAR Pinty’s Series race Saturday (a Canadian series but Adam Andretti of Nazareth, Pa., finished third) and Scott Hargrove of Vancouver won both Porsche GT3 Cup Series races.
It was oh-so-close but no cigar for Zacharie Claman De Melo of Montreal, who finished second twice in the Indy Lights races held Saturday and Sunday. The Indy Lights series, like F2’s relationship to F1, is the last rung on the “Road to Indy” ladder system designed to prepare racedrivers for the big league.
Said De Melo, 19: “I’ll be back next year and I’ll win next year.”
And James Hinchcliffe of Oakville finished third in the Honda Indy — his second podium in Toronto in two years.
You can’t do much better than that.
Nicholas Latifi got his first win of the season — but fifth podium finish — on the FIA Formula 2 circuit.