Nyck de Vries deserves a full-time seat in Formula 1 after the Dutch driver’s sensational debut with Williams at the 2022 Italian Grand Prix at Monza, says Mercedes driver George Russell.
Russell has previously raced for struggling Williams and faced de Vries in his junior career from karting. Both were Formula 2 champions with the ART team, Russell in 2018 and de Vries in 2019.
“He’s obviously done a great job… he’s always been one of the best and there’s no doubt he deserves a place in Formula 1,” Russell told reporters after finishing third on Sunday.
“There are 20 drivers, not everyone has an opportunity, but now he has proven everything he has to do.”
De Vries, who won the 2021 electric Formula E title, got into the car off the cuff on Saturday after regular driver Alex Albon was ruled out with appendicitis.
The Mercedes reserve had driven for Aston Martin in the first practice on Friday.
The 27-year-old started eighth and finished ninth in his first F1 race – a result that could help his hopes of securing a 2023 seat, possibly at Williams, who only confirmed Albon.
Nicholas Latifi, in the other Williams, is the only regular driver on the starting grid yet to score this season and de Vries has outplayed him throughout, despite considerable odds.
Nyck had never run on high fuel, used the tires or driven the car in race conditions.
Williams Vehicle Performance Manager Dave Robson, like the rest of the paddock and F1 fans, was impressed: “Nyck rode a great race and was able to defend when needed while maintaining constant pressure on the cars ahead.
“We gave him an ambitious strategy that would push his Soft and Medium tires to the limit. The latest Safety Car offered some protection in the closing laps and also helped him deal with a hot front brake disc.
“However, he found himself in this position driving extremely well, handling the start and pit stop expertly and battling hard with a car and settings he had only driven for 34 rounds yesterday.
“He didn’t run on a lot of fuel before the grid laps and never did a full stint on these tires in race conditions. The work he and his team did overnight was excellent and he deserved this result,” concluded Robson.
After the race at Monza, a beaming De Vries admitted: “Jumping from Aston Martin on Friday in a Williams; it’s a different car, the seating position is different.
“I remember when I was testing with Mercedes and Force India at the time and driving in F2, it took me quite a few laps just to get used to the different feel of how those cars reacted. There’s not much more to say; scoring points on your debut in a Williams is pretty spectacular,” enthused De Vries.
Williams is last in the overall constructors’ standings for F1 2022 and de Vries’ two points took their season total to just six.
Red Bull F1 world champion Max Verstappen, who gave his compatriot and friend a pep talk before the race and lined up alongside him on the grid, praised de Vries for his excellent job. “He just kept his composure, didn’t make any mistakes and I’m very happy he scored points.” (Reporting by Alan Baldwin with additional reporting by GP247)