Nyck de Vries ‘grabbed this opportunity with both hands’

Michelle Foster
Nyck de Vries climbs into the Williams. Italy September 2022

Nyck de Vries climbs into the Williams. Italy September 2022

Having bolstered his resume with a points-scoring finish on his F1 debut at the Italian Grand Prix, Nyck de Vries is hoping he will be on the Formula 1 grid next season.

But he acknowledges it is not up to him.

De Vries was handed a surprise debut at the Monza circuit, called up to replace Alex Albon when the Thai-British driver fell ill with appendicitis.

It was short notice, with the Dutchman “chilling in the Paddock Club” when he got the call, so much so Williams still needed 15 minutes of FP3 to change the car to suit the replacement driver.

And yet it was De Vries who shone for Williams.

The 2021 Formula E champion made it through to Q2 where he finished P13, lined up eighth due to engine penalties for several drivers and raced his way to ninth.

That made him the 67th driver to score points on his Formula 1 debut, the 27-year-old also voted ‘Driver of the Day’ by the fans.

“The whole experience, from yesterday until now, has just been a dream,” he told the official F1 website.

“Jumping in a car on the drivers’ parade and seeing all the excitement for Formula 1, getting the opportunity to race, starting in the top 10, executing a good race, scoring points on debut, being called ‘Driver of the Day’ – it’s been amazing.”

De Vries’ performance, far outweighing that of regular driver Nicholas Latifi who has yet to score a single point this season, was the perfect audition for a 2023 F1 race seat.

He has been linked to Latifi’s seat but concedes that decision is not his to make.

“Ultimately, it’s not up to me to decide whether I should have a seat or not,” he said. “Of course I can only do my job.

“We live in a competitive industry, so you’re as good as your last race and you’re always expected to perform – luckily I did that this weekend and grabbed this opportunity with both hands.”

De Vries’ former boss, Mercedes head of motorsport Toto Wolff, reckons the driver put in a perfect audition.

Speaking to Sky Sports F1, Wolff said: “I think what else should he do in terms of performance than what he has shown today?

“No training, [he] jumped in a car he hadn’t driven, straight into FP3. It showed what he’s capable of doing.”

Read more: De Vries P20 in the Drivers’ standings, Latifi down to 21st
Read more: Italian Grand Prix driver ratings: Nyck de Vries shows he belongs in F1