Comments from Nyck de Vries in 2019 have resurfaced, in which he claimed F1 peers Lando Norris and Alex Albon were “really no better than me” as drivers, which has prompted a reaction from Formula 1 fans on social media.
The 27-year-old earned a full-time drive in Formula 1 much later than those around him coming up through the junior categories, having served as a junior driver with McLaren before holding reserve duties with Mercedes for several years alongside his own racing efforts.
But a super-sub performance in place of Albon at Monza last year placed him at the front of the queue for a drive at AlphaTauri alongside Yuki Tsunoda this season, when Pierre Gasly had departed for Alpine.
The Dutchman is already facing pressure over his drive, however, after a tough start to the year has seen him not get off the mark for points and largely not match the pace of his team-mate in qualifying or race trim.
But his struggles since joining the Formula 1 grid have not gone unnoticed by fans of the sport and his own team, with hundreds of Twitter users recently re-finding a tweet highlighting an interview from Dutch media shared from PlanetF1.com’s account in 2019 and having their own reactions to it, mostly of incredulity, given the tough start he has had to his time in the series.
“I do not want to be arrogant at all, but Norris and Albon were in my eyes really no better than me,” De Vries told Dutch newspaper Friesch Dagblad back in 2019.
“Norris won only one race, Albon won four and I won three. But that’s the past. This year I want to take revenge and go for the championship with ART.”
And, on that front, he duly did so, going on to win the Formula 2 title come the end of that season before making a move across to Formula E, where he would become the all-electric series’ first ever FIA-recognised World Champion.
Back to the present day, however, he has struggled to match the level of AlphaTauri team-mate Tsunoda so far this season and owned up to multiple mistakes on track, most recently running into the back of Norris at the start of the Miami Grand Prix, which relegated them both to the back of the field.
The Dutchman spoke of his roundabout way of trying to get himself onto the grid, having taken in spells in endurance racing and Formula E after taking the Formula 2 title.
“I grew up with about 70 percent of the current F1 grid,” he added in the same interview from four years ago.
“Of course it is sometimes frustrating to see that they are there now and not me, but everyone walks their own path, and for some it is easier than for others.
“A few years ago, choosing McLaren was the best choice, but when the team’s performances declined it lost sponsorship and it was necessary to cut certain budgets.
“That did not help with my journey. But I am proud of how I survived in recent years and that I am still there.”