Sam Bird: Nyck de Vries looked like he had done 50 races in Monza debut

Jamie Woodhouse
Williams' Nyck de Vries at the Italian Grand Prix. Monza, September 2022.

Williams' Nyck De Vries at the Italian Grand Prix. Monza, September 2022.

Nyck de Vries was a late debutant at Monza, but fellow Formula E driver Sam Bird said he looked like an experienced Formula 1 racer.

Monza was not the first time that De Vries had actually appeared on a race weekend, his FP1 outing with Aston Martin being his third of the 2022 season with the third different team.

That was supposed to be the end of De Vries’ involvement in terms of official on-track duties for that weekend, but when Alex Albon was ruled out of the remainder of the race weekend due to appendicitis, Mercedes sent their reserve driver De Vries down to Williams to fill that vacancy.

De Vries did not disappoint, outqualifying team-mate Nicholas Latifi on his first attempt, before finishing the race P9 after launching from P8 due to grid penalties for rival drivers. That secured two points for De Vries in his first Grand Prix start.



But, in Bird’s opinion, De Vries was looking like a driver with 50 race starts under his belt in Formula 1.

“He looked like he’d done 50 Grands Prix before,” said Bird of De Vries on the Chequered Flag podcast. “He didn’t look like a rookie out there.

“He was pressurising Fernando Alonso at one point in the race, he was sticking with the lead group when Daniel Ricciardo was holding everybody up. He looked great out there and I can only assume that there’ll be more chances for him in the near future.

“What also impressed me is yes, he’s the Mercedes reserve driver, but he also is the reserve driver for quite a few other teams that use a Mercedes [power] unit currently, which means he needs to know all of their steering wheels, all of their software, all of those engineers, and he’s just slotted back into the Williams car.

“Okay, he drove it in Barcelona. But that was quite a long time ago. And he slotted back into that one day after having his brain put through the fact that he was in an Aston Martin. So, there’s a lot of things that he had to kind of get out of his head then plunk into his head this weekend. Very, very impressive.”

Bird suggested that De Vries’ performance also has wider-reaching implications, demonstrating that Formula E drivers are more than capable of performing at that level.

“Shows that us Formula E drivers can drive,” Bird concluded.

Read more: Max Verstappen recalls the motivational speech which he delivered to compatriot De Vries at Monza.