Sebastian Vettel said he hopes the “brutal” sacking of Nyck de Vries does not dent the Dutchman’s confidence.
De Vries’ AlphaTauri career has come to an end after just 10 races with Red Bull opting to replace him with the experienced Daniel Ricciardo.
It comes after De Vries failed to match his super-sub Monza 2022 performance and at the time of his sacking, he was one of just two drivers yet to have scored a point this year.
At 28, it remains to be seen when or indeed if De Vries will make his way back to the grid, and another man who recently departed a full-time seat hopes the nature of his exit does not damage his confidence.
“I have to be honest, It’s obviously a shame for Nick,” Vettel told ITV. “The way it came to an end. I think he got given a great chance, maybe things didn’t happen for him the way he expected or people expected but it’s also a bit harsh when it comes to a very sudden stop. It’s brutal.
“Because especially I think Nyck… I mean I met him last year for the first time and he seemed like a really good person and he is a good driver. He won the F2 championship, he won international championships so he’s well recognised and I hope that this doesn’t put a dent in his confidence.
“So that’s why people shouldn’t look at [his AlphaTauri career only] because people tend to do that and that’s not right.
“Maybe those five, 10 races whatever didn’t go according to how good they could have been. We don’t know why, first of all from the outside and second he is still a very good driver. So I have to also sympathise with the fact that you know, it’s very harsh for him and I hope that people don’t [just] see that.”
But as one door closes, another opens and Vettel’s former Red Bull team-mate Ricciardo is back in the sport having himself been on the wrong end of a driver swap in 2022.
“I’m very happy for Daniel,” the four-time World Champion said. “Very happy. I like him. Obviously I’ve raced with them and I met him at the [Silverstone] test when I was shaking down the McLaren for this weekend.”