Nyck de Vries is not letting Helmut Marko’s praise of his Monaco weekend go to his head, and is aiming to keep the momentum up in Spain.
After a rocky start to the 2023 season and his full-time F1 career, in which he has had plenty of incidents and accidents, De Vries put in a steady showing at the Monaco Grand Prix last weekend to finish in 12th place.
While not able to keep pace with his much more experienced team-mate Yuki Tsunoda, De Vries kept his AlphaTauri out of the barriers and produced a meritorious drive that earned the praise of Red Bull advisor and junior programme boss Helmut Marko.
“This was by far his best weekend for AlphaTauri,” Marko said last week. “Nyck was much closer to Yuki than before. This is what I want to see from him.”
Nyck de Vries: You’re as good as your last race
Asked about his Monaco weekend and the resulting praise from Marko, De Vries said he was not getting carried away by it and that the mistakes in the first races are caused by ‘being human’.
“As I said in Monaco, prior to the weekend, I haven’t really been reading news so I’m not so much up to date with what everyone is saying,” he said.
“But, you know, we live in the present. You’re as good as your last race and it’s ultimately all about performance.
“People make mistakes. I make mistakes. We’re human, we move forward. And this weekend is a new weekend.”
But De Vries did concede that he had put in a much more put-together weekend at the Monaco Grand Prix.
“Monaco was a decent weekend. We kept our nose clean in tricky circumstances, and it was just a good kind of build-up throughout the whole weekend,” he said.
“We’re looking to continue to focus on ourselves and try to extract the maximum out of the package we have and do the best possible job we can. Then, hopefully, we can have another clean weekend.”
Nyck de Vries: There’s always pressure on drivers in Formula 1
Asked how he is finding the pressure of Formula 1 compared to F2 or Formula E, where he won the world championship two years ago as a factory Mercedes driver, De Vries said the pressure and scrutiny he is under at the moment is not really any different to what has come before.
“It’s fair to say that I personally believe that I made a little bit too many mistakes,” he said.
“I do think there were moments that I was competitive and showing good potential, but I didn’t quite succeed to turn it into a result or execute a result at the end of the weekend.
“At the same time, we only completed five races up to Monaco – it’s still early in the season. When it comes to pressure, I think as a driver you always fight for your survival because, throughout your career, you always need to perform and deliver to continue your career forward successfully.
“So I don’t really think that is different now than at any other time in my career. But I can acknowledge that Formula 1 has been very different to any other championship I’ve been racing.
“I think that the most challenging bit is, first of all, the midfield is extremely tight and competitive and the margins are just very, very fine. In F1, I feel like everything is pushed so much towards the limit. Everything is developed and improved – both the package and the driver throughout the weekend – that there’s just nothing left on the table. And that approach is different.”
With an upgraded AT04 under him for this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix, the Dutch driver could not say how much of a step forward it could represent.
“Frankly speaking, I don’t know,” he said.
“We haven’t really been able to learn much about our updates in Monaco for obvious reasons – obviously, the track is very specific so, hopefully, we’ll learn more about it on Friday.
“I definitely see us moving closer, slowly toward the verge of the top 10. Hopefully, we can continue on that route, and have a good weekend.”