How de Vries made himself impossible to ignore for a belated F1 chance
Nyck de Vries appeared to have missed his opportunity to break into Formula 1 as he was passed over for more exciting talents who have now become frontrunners and title fighters. But after catching the eye outside of the F1 sphere, before his stunning impromptu grand prix debut in Italy, will it lead to a delayed full-time race seat?
There were only two blots when Nyck de Vries made his Formula 1 debut as a super-sub in this month's Italian Grand Prix. He left the Williams in the wrong brake-bias tune in Q2 to induce a spike of oversteer when he stamped on the anchors approaching the second chicane. Then, under the controversial race-ending safety car, he "erratically" and suddenly slowed. But, owing to his green status, his efforts to manage a cooked front brake disc and his unfamiliarity with the dash readout, the stewards let him off with a reprimand. As a result, de Vries could gingerly free his aching shoulders from the cockpit of the FW44 with those two points for ninth place intact and his F1 stock soaring. It was just about the best real-world audition imaginable.
Williams chief Jost Capito now reckons "there is nothing else he has to do" to stake a claim for a full-time drive in 2023. And perhaps that's just as well. Despite Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff fighting his cause at every opportunity, de Vries has so far struggled to be much more than a blip on the radar for teams with a seat going spare. The Dutchman was at least in the frame to replace George Russell at Williams for this season before the squad signed the more experienced Alex Albon – who de Vries replaced at Monza with a couple of hours' notice before FP3 after the Anglo-Thai was struck with appendicitis.
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