From Paddock Membership to Monza factors: Inside De Vries’ dream F1 debut
When Mercedes’ Method E champion De Vries rocked up within the Monza paddock on Friday nobody may have predicted the rollercoaster weekend that might lie forward of him.
As a part of his Mercedes duties, De Vries was made out there to its associate groups for a reserve position and took the wheel of Sebastian Vettel’s Aston Martin in first free observe.
He had been praised by Vettel and the staff for his suggestions however was set to spend the remainder of the weekend all however twiddling his thumbs, make the odd media and VIP look after which watch Sunday’s race alongside Mercedes staff boss Toto Wolff, as he and fellow reserve Stoffel Vandoorne typically do.
However talking to the media after his FP1 outing, the dialog centered extra on the Dutchman’s future than about his observe session.
“I believed we have been going to speak in regards to the FP1 session, you might be all very aggressive,” he stated when questions went straight into his 2023 plans.
He added that F1’s foolish season has been “extra unstable than cryptocurrency”, maybe foreshadowing what would come to cross later that weekend.
When on Saturday morning information arrived that Williams driver Albon had been struck by appendicitis, De Vries was the apparent selection to switch him on the Mercedes-powered staff. Not solely had De Vries simply managed to familiarise himself with driving an F1 automotive at Monza, however he had additionally achieved an FP1 with the Grove staff in Barcelona.
De Vries was known as by Mercedes’ James Vowles to tell him of the information simply 90 minutes earlier than FP3 whereas he was sipping espresso within the Paddock Membership as a part of his different obligations.
Arriving at within the Williams storage the staff was in a rush to arrange him for his solely observe session within the automotive forward of qualifying, grow to be the primary driver since Harald Ertl in 1978 to compete for 2 totally different groups throughout a grand prix weekend.
“The staff needed to shortly regulate plenty of issues, like my seat and the pedal positions,” he defined. “In FP3 you actually solely have two runs since you solely have two units of tyres. There is not any room for lengthy runs, you instantly must push earlier than qualifying.”
Nyck de Vries, Williams FW44
Photograph by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Photos
Recalling Saturday’s occasions, Williams staff boss Jost Capito advised Motorsport.com: “He got here in with an enormous smile, despite the fact that he knew that it could be extraordinarily arduous.
“He is aware of the staff and the staff did every part to assist him to achieve success. We consider in him we knew what he may do.”
However whereas the low drag Williams was a a lot totally different beast than the Aston – and to De Vries’ profit extra aggressive at Monza, too – that confidence proved justified.
In qualifying the Dutchman instantly went faster than common driver Nicholas Latifi in each his Q1 laps. And whereas his quickest lap time was deleted for observe limits, De Vries’s earlier lap was simply sufficient for Q2.
Along with his quickest Q2 lap ruined by making a mistake beneath braking, that is the place his qualifying ended, however a spate of grid penalties moved him as much as an unlikely eighth place for the race.
After the race De Vries revealed he hadn’t been capable of sleep on Saturday night time due to the adrenalin rush.
“The entire of the final 24 hours have simply been a dream. I didn’t actually have a lot time to suppose as a result of every part was so rushed,” he admitted.
“I had a really unhealthy sleep; it went from pleasure into nerves, and I didn’t dare even look into my sleep monitoring as a result of principally I spent the entire night time awake.
“However maybe it helped me. I couldn’t suppose and I simply needed to get on with the job. The nearer we acquired to the race, the extra these nerves become power.”
Max Verstappen, who began alongside him on the grid, exchanged congratulatory texts together with his compatriot in a single day and handed him related recommendation earlier than the beginning
“I simply advised him he has to take pleasure in it and never stress an excessive amount of,” commented Verstappen. “You do not have to suppose an excessive amount of about having begin or first lap, you simply must let issues occur and it seems like Nyck took that on board completely.”
Certainly he did, as a result of on Sunday the 27-year-old made an affordable begin regardless of barely practising the procedures, survived the everyday Monza melee in Flip 1 after which defended his place in Daniel Ricciardo’s DRS practice.
Whereas the Monza visitors meant De Vries hardly ever acquired to indicate his full tempo, he completely executed his one-stop technique to come back dwelling in ninth because the followers’ Driver of the Day.
Following a quick post-race penalty scare as a result of a delta time infringement beneath the late security automotive, De Vries’s ninth place was confirmed, incomes Williams two invaluable factors.
Nyck de Vries, Williams FW44, Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo C42
Photograph by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Photos
Naturally, De Vries was in excessive demand after the race and acquired an enormous hug from Lewis Hamilton within the media pen, amongst congratulations from different friends.
“Lewis congratulated me, they’ve all been very supportive and really form. So, I respect the assist.
“I used to be a little bit stunned about our tempo, we have been capable of observe fairly comfortably
“With 15 laps to go I began considering: ‘We are able to rating factors right here’ however when that thought popped in my thoughts, I shortly advised myself: ‘No, keep centered. Focus!’
Having by no means accomplished a race stint earlier than in an F1 automotive, De Vries admitted he was fairly comfortable to see the race finish behind the security automotive.
“That I am unable to deny,” he grinned. “I may barely preserve my arms up in the course of the cooldown lap and my shoulders have been fairly sore.
“We took some factors, and it was a terrific efficiency. And nobody can take that away from us.”
When Motorsport.com tracked down Williams chief Capito after the race, the German was equally ecstatic however stated he wasn’t stunned by De Vries’ efficiency.
“I would not say stunned as a result of I fee him extraordinarily excessive, in order that’s why my expectations are extraordinarily excessive and he overfulfilled these,” Capito stated.
“It is so tough to get in that automotive to race for 2 hours and do the qualifying and never doing any mistake.
“He has to defend, he has to assault, he has to take care of the tyres. He has to do the pitstop proper, he has to get lapped and never lose an excessive amount of time with someone being shut behind him.
“After which there’s all of the switches he has. It is so extra sophisticated than anything he has pushed earlier than after which doing this with none mistake, it is completely excellent job.”
Whereas attempting to stay coy on De Vries’ possibilities of a 2023 race seat, Capito firmly instructed Williams is eager on signing him and that the ball is now in his courtroom, given he’s more likely to have appeared on Alpine’s radar as properly.
If there’s one a part of the briefing that De Vries failed to move throughout his dream weekend, it was Capito’s directions to get night time’s sleep.
“I advised him to sleep properly and have good goals and Nyck stated: ‘I’ll dream a few level’.
“And I stated: ‘Do not dream about it, get it!'”
Nyck de Vries, Williams Racing, the Williams staff rejoice after securing factors on race debut
Photograph by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Photos