Nicholas Latifi has revealed he would have failed to make it into qualifying for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix but for Yuki Tsunoda's time-saving crash.
Canadian Latifi, who eventually made it into the second session for only the second time in his F1 career - the first in dry conditions - had crashed at the Villeneuve corner in Saturday morning's final practice.
Time was ticking for his Williams team to get him out for qualifying and they were losing the battle until AlphaTauri's Tsunoda brought out the red flags with a crash of his own at Variante Alta in the first session.
Latifi revealed: "We almost didn't even make it out for qualifying. I had the little bump up the wall in FP3 and even though we did get back out there to do laps there were a few residual things the team needed to check over.
"If it wasn't for the red flag with Yuki's crash, I wouldn't have made it out for qualifying. Thankful for that, but unfortunate for Yuki, it gave us time to repair the car, put it back together."
Latifi set a stellar lap that landed him 12th in Q1 and eventually qualified 14th, his best in F1, two places behind team-mate George Russell and ahead of a number of cars typically more competitive.
"A good Q1, really pleased with the lap," he added. "Q2, a little bit disappointed that I didn't get the improvement that I needed to. A little mistake at the beginning of the lap but overall, quite pleased."
For the second time in two seasons, Williams will start with two cars in the top 15 after Russell and Latifi achieved the feat in Hungary last year.
The team is still searching for its first points since the German Grand Prix in 2019, and Latifi insisted any opportunity afforded to him must be taken.
"I think our goals are always clear," he said. "We attack the pack for points and if there is an opportunity to fight for points, we have to take it.
"At the same time, we are the 12th and 14th quickest cars so we need to take advantage of strategic opportunities and get a good start, make sure we tick all the boxes.
"We need a clean race. I am expecting it to feel nice in race trim. It is notoriously difficult as a track to overtake though, so fingers crossed for a good one."
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