Nyck de Vries finished his debut race for AlphaTauri down in 14th, but the Dutch driver was still left feeling “pretty satisfied” with his performance – although he was left ruing a missed opportunity to pit under a late Virtual Safety Car.
De Vries started on the last row of the grid in 19th, alongside Pierre Gasly – who he replaced at AlphaTauri – and was overtaken at the start by the Alpine driver, leaving him running in last place by the end of the first lap.
The former Formula 2 champion made his way up to 11th, but lost out when AlphaTauri opted not to pit him for soft tyres under the Virtual Safety Car – caused by Charles Leclerc stopping on track – unlike his rivals around him, leaving him unable to defend his position, as he took the chequered flag in 14th.
“I’m pretty satisfied with our race. Naturally, it can always be better, but after our first couple of days in the weekend, it was kind of a good comeback,” said the former Mercedes reserve driver.
“Not only in terms of positions, because obviously there were some retirements, but also in terms of performance.”
De Vries ‘pretty satisfied’ with his AlphaTauri debut in Bahrain
“I felt like our race pace was decent, we just missed out on the last busy pit stop which then left me out on the hards for many, many laps, but you’ve got to play your cards and ultimately I think it was a decent race for us.”
When asked whether he could use the time out on track to learn about the car, De Vries replied: “It was important to get the experience, get the mileage in and I think we did well… I was driving on the hard compound tyre for the remainder of the race, but ultimately, the mileage and experience will help us for the season.
“Given where we started, it was a good day because we could still fight some cars around us… Points weren’t possible today, so we’ll look ahead to Saudi Arabia, which is a bit quicker, meaning the midfield will look different again.”
He concluded: “We know there’s more work to do, but as a team, we’ll continue to work hard on the areas that require improvements to give us a stronger performance moving forward.”