Nyck de Vries admits his Formula 1 debut at the Italian Grand Prix felt like an audition to try and earn a permanent seat in 2023.
The Dutchman was called up as a last-minute replacement for Alex Albon after the Williams driver was hospitalized with appendicitis, and duly reached Q2 before finishing ninth in Sunday’s race at Monza. With seats still available for next season at Alpine, Haas and Williams — as Alfa Romeo is set to announce it is continuing with Zhou Guanyu — de Vries says he felt like he was able to provide an example of his potential to those who have vacancies.
“Yeah, I mean any time you’re in the car you’re expected to do a good job,” de Vries said. “And any time you get a chance to drive a Formula 1 car it is a kind of job interview and an audition. You’ve got to take those opportunities, but you’ve also got to use them sensibly because there’s always a trade-off of doing too much and too little.
“But I am just grateful that it worked out well and played into our hands. We took some points and it was a great performance. And no one can take that away from us.”
De Vries won the Formula 2 championship in 2019 and then became Formula E champion a year ago, and after also carrying out FP1 runs for Mercedes and Aston Martin he feels he’s done all he can to prove his worth to F1 teams.
“I feel like I wouldn’t be standing on this grid (if I didn’t deserve it) and I think this weekend has been a good performance. But we’re always expected to do a good job and it’s not up to me to decide any driver line-up.
“This world is very volatile and it’s not only merit counts. So, it’s out of my control. But this no one can take away from me, so regardless of the future whether I’m here or not, I can look back on a proud debut and first moment in Formula 1. I enjoyed it.”
De Vries revealed he had messages of encouragement from the likes of Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton over the Italian Grand Prix weekend.
“He (Verstappen) was kind. We had some messaging … Lewis congratulated me — they’ve all been very supportive and very kind. Max just came to me and said, ‘It’s going to be fine, it’s going to be good — you will be fine. Just have a good start and get through.’ So, I appreciate the support, and also very thankful to all the fans who voted me as driver of the day.”
Following his performance, RACER understands de Vries might be called upon to test for Alpine next week when the team is running its young driver Jack Doohan in a 2021 car.