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From F1 Paddock Club to Monza points: Inside De Vries’ dream debut

When Mercedes’ Formula E champion De Vries rocked up in the Monza paddock on Friday nobody may have predicted the rollercoaster weekend that could lie before him.

Within his Mercedes duties, De Vries was distributed around its partner teams for a reserve role and took the wheel of Sebastian Vettel’s Aston Martin in first free practice.

He previously been praised by Vettel and the team for his feedback but was set to invest all of those other weekend all but twiddling his thumbs, make the odd media and VIP appearance and watch Sunday’s race alongside Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff, as he and fellow reserve Stoffel Vandoorne often do.

But talking with the media after his FP1 outing, the conversation focused more on the Dutchman’s future than about his practice session.

“I thought we were likely to discuss the FP1 session, you’re all very aggressive,” he said when questions went directly into his 2023 plans.

He added that F1’s silly season has been “more volatile than cryptocurrency”, perhaps foreshadowing what would arrived at pass later that weekend.

When on Saturday morning news arrived that Williams driver Albon have been struck by appendicitis, De Vries was the most obvious choice to displace him at the Mercedes-powered team. Not merely had De Vries just were able to familiarise himself with driving an F1 car at Monza, but he previously also done an FP1 with the Grove team in Barcelona.

De Vries was called by Mercedes’ James Vowles to see him of the news headlines just 90 minutes before FP3 while he was sipping coffee in the Paddock Club within his other obligations.

Coming to in the Williams garage the team was pretty quickly to get ready him for his only practice session in the automobile before qualifying, end up being the first driver since Harald Ertl in 1978 to compete for just two different teams throughout a grand prix weekend.

“The team had to quickly adjust lots of things, like my seat and the pedal positions,” he explained. “In FP3 you truly only have two runs as you only have two sets of tyres. There is no room for long runs, you immediately need to push before qualifying.”

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Nyck de Vries, Williams FW44

Nyck de Vries, Williams FW44

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

Recalling Saturday’s events, Williams team boss Jost Capito told Motorsport.com:”He came in with a large smile, despite the fact that he knew that it might be difficult.

“He knows the team and the team did everything to aid him to reach your goals. We have confidence in him we knew what he could do.”

But as the low drag Williams was a much different beast compared to the Aston – also to De Vries’ benefit more competitive at Monza, too – that confidence proved justified.

In qualifying the Dutchman immediately went quicker than regular driver Nicholas Latifi in both his Q1 laps. Even though his fastest lap time was deleted for track limits, De Vries’s previous lap was sufficient for Q2.

Along with his fastest Q2 lap ruined by creating a mistake under braking, that is where his qualifying ended, but a spate of grid penalties moved him around an unlikely eighth place for the race.

Following the race De Vries revealed he hadn’t had the opportunity to sleep on Saturday night due to the adrenalin rush.

“The entire last 24 hours have just been a dream. I didnt genuinely have much time to believe because everything was so rushed,” he admitted.

I had an extremely bad sleep; it went from excitement into nerves, and I didnt dare even consider my sleep tracking because basically I spent the complete night awake.

But perhaps it helped me. I couldnt think and I simply had to begin the work. The closer we surely got to the race, the more those nerves converted into energy.”

Max Verstappen, who started alongside him on the grid, exchanged congratulatory texts along with his compatriot overnight and handed him similar advice prior to the start

“I simply told him he’s got to take pleasure from it rather than stress an excessive amount of,” commented Verstappen. “You don’t need to think an excessive amount of about having an excellent start or perhaps a good first lap, you merely need to let things happen also it appears like Nyck took that up to speed perfectly.”

Indeed he did, because on Sunday the 27-year-old made an acceptable start despite barely practicing the procedures, survived the normal Monza melee subsequently 1 and defended his invest Daniel Ricciardo’s DRS train.

As the Monza traffic meant De Vries rarely surely got to show his full pace, he perfectly executed his one-stop technique to get back in ninth because the fans’ Driver of your day.

Carrying out a brief post-race penalty scare because of delta time infringement beneath the late safety car, De Vries’s ninth place was confirmed, earning Williams two valuable points.

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Nyck de Vries, Williams FW44, Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo C42

Nyck de Vries, Williams FW44, Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo C42

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

Naturally, De Vries was in popular following the race and received a large hug from Lewis Hamilton in the media pen, amongcongratulationsfrom other peers.

“Lewis congratulated me, theyve all been very supportive and incredibly kind. So, I appreciate the support.

I was just a little surprised about our pace, we could actually follow quite comfortably

“With 15 laps to go I started thinking: ‘We can score points here’ however when that thought popped in my own mind, I quickly told myself: ‘No, stay focused. Focus!’

Having never completed a race stint before within an F1 car, De Vries admitted he was quite pleased to start to see the race end behind the safety car.

“That I cannot deny,” he grinned. “I possibly could barely keep my arms up through the cooldown lap and my shoulders were quite sore.

We took some points, also it was an excellent performance. No you can take that from us.”

WhenMotorsport.com tracked down Williams chief Capito following the race, the German was equally ecstatic but said he wasn’t surprised by De Vries’ performance.

“I wouldn’t say surprised because I rate him extremely high, so that is why my expectations are really high and he overfulfilled these,” Capito said.

“It’s so hard to get for the reason that car to race for just two hours and do the qualifying rather than doing any mistake.

“He’s got to defend, he’s got to attack, he’s got to provide for the tyres. He’s got to accomplish the pitstop right, he’s got to obtain lapped rather than lose a lot of time with somebody being close behind him.

“And there’s all of the switches he’s got. It’s so more difficult than other things he’s got driven before and doing this without the mistake, it’s absolutely outstanding job.”

While attempting to remain coy on De Vries’ likelihood of a 2023 race seat, Capito firmly suggested Williams is thinking about signing him and that the ball is currently in his court, given he could be more likely to have appeared on Alpine’s radar aswell.

If there’s one portion of the briefing that De Vries didn’t head during his dream weekend, it had been Capito’s instructions to obtain a good night’s sleep.

“I told him to sleep well and also have nice dreams and Nyck said: ‘I will dream of a point’.

“And I said: ‘Don’t dream of it, obtain it!'”

Nyck de Vries, Williams Racing, the Williams team celebrate after securing points on race debut

Nyck de Vries, Williams Racing, the Williams team celebrate after securing points on race debut

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

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