Nyck de Vries has been told he should feel “proud” after making his debut in a Formula 1 weekend in Barcelona.
The Dutchman took part in FP1 of the Spanish Grand Prix in line with a new regulation by the FIA that states each team must provide two sessions to a driver who has competed in two or fewer races.
Williams took up that option in Barcelona with De Vries replacing Alex Albon for the first practice session of the weekend.
His limited run, which George Russell has criticised for not giving the young drivers a chance to perform, has drawn praise from Williams’ head of vehicle performance Dave Robson who said the 27-year-old “didn’t put a foot wrong.”
“He completed the engineering programme that we needed him to do, which for us was the most important bit,” Robson said, as reported by the Race.
“Not only did he not have a huge amount of time in the simulator, we gave him the prime [hard] tyre for his first run, which we knew would be a little bit difficult, but at least it gave him the opportunity to do a good number of laps.
The team can confirm that @nyckdevries will take part in FP1 on Friday, fulfilling one of the two mandated young driver sessions this season 👍
— Williams Racing (@WilliamsRacing) May 16, 2022
“And then to go straight from that all the way to the qualifying [soft] compound is a big ask for anyone and actually, you can see in the lap time he did a very good job. So his pace was there. His ability to understand the tyre and do the out-lap correctly was really impressive.”
De Vries has made no secret of his desire to race in Formula 1 but it seems the chance to do so may be slipping away for the reigning Formula E champion. Robson said he should be “proud” of the work he did but said there are “so many people” worthy of a place on the Formula 1 grid.
“His feedback post-session was extremely good,” said Robson. “He had some very useful comments on the balance of the car, which agrees quite well with what we’ve heard from the two race drivers.
“So I think in that regard, considering he only gets an hour in the car, he did a really good job and he clearly has what he needs to be to be an absolute top quality competition driver.
“He’s worthy of a place on the grid, but so many people are. He took his opportunity well and I think he should be pleased with and proud of what he did.”