Sebastian Vettel gives Nyck de Vries a vote of confidence

Michelle Foster
Sebastian Vettel walking the track with Nyck de Vries. Italy September 2022

Sebastian Vettel walking the track with Aston Martin test driver Nyck de Vries. Italy September 2022

Handing his AMR22 over to Nyck de Vries for FP1 at the Italian Grand Prix, Sebastian Vettel was impressed with the F1 hopeful’s “excellent feedback”.

This season, every team has to give two FP1 outings to a young driver, a rule that is working in De Vries’ favour.

The 27-year-old has long been part of the Mercedes squad, winning last year’s Formula E championship with the manufacturer.

As such, he has been the one the Mercedes-powered teams have run in their Friday sessions, firstly Williams, then Mercedes, now Aston Martin.

The Dutchman covered 22 laps in Vettel’s Aston Martin, all on the slower hard tyres, and finished 2.2s off the pace. But he was not slowest of all, that was Nicholas Latifi.

Vettel was impressed with De Vries, saying he did a “really good job”.

“I think Nyck did very well,” he told “He was of course a bit unlucky with the time he did as he was on the hard tyres. It’s difficult.

“After listening to him and driving the car myself, I concluded it wasn’t easy.

“But I think he did a really good job and he gave excellent feedback.”

De Vries is hoping to find a spot on the 2023 Formula 1 grid, the driver linked to a move to a Williams to replace Latifi.

Speaking to the official F1 website after his practice run, he said: “Obviously it’s a dream and I think I would deserve a chance, but ultimately it’s not up to me to decide a driver line-up.”

Vettel was back in his car for the day’s second session, where he was only 17th quickest, one place ahead of his team-mate Lance Stroll.

The driver concedes this may not be Aston Martin’s weekend.

“I think it will be a difficult weekend for us,” he said. “The car is quite difficult to drive, but we’ll see because I think we can still improve.

“There is very little grip but that’s normal for Monza. We have to find the right compromise. I think we can improve on speed over one lap – the laps I did were not really great.

“In terms of driving, I think on my last lap I got a better idea of where we have to go with the car. As for the set-up, I think we can do some things.

“Hopefully we will be better, will be among those who find just a little bit more.”

This weekend marks Vettel’s final Italian Grand Prix, the driver retiring from Formula 1 at the end of this season.