Nyck de Vries has revealed that he exchanged messages with Max Verstappen ahead of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix about a particularly memorable moment for the Dutchman at the track.
De Vries is set to race at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit for the first time, while his countryman Verstappen won at the venue in 2022.
Prior to this, the Red Bull driver put in an unforgettable qualifying lap at the circuit in 2021, where he looked set for pole position before dramatically crashing at the final corner. Despite the way it ended, de Vries was impressed with Verstappen's lap.
De Vries praises Verstappen's 'very impressive' lap
Following the news that Verstappen would miss Thursday's media activities in Jeddah due to a stomach bug – with his arrival delayed until Friday – de Vries was asked whether he had had any contact with the World Champion.
"Actually, we exchanged messages this morning," de Vries told media, including RacingNews365.com.
"But that was about his qualifying lap in '21, not about his stomach bug, so I'm sure he will be fine."
In terms of why they were discussing Verstappen's ill-fated 2021 qualifying run, de Vries explained: "I just thought it was a very impressive lap.
"I was watching it back again and we talked about it. He joked about [the final corner]!
"But I was just more kind of impressed by [how] he could see from the outside how aggressive and attacking it was."
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Focus on building track time for de Vries
The Jeddah track has seen some changes since Verstappen's qualifying lap in 2021 and, amid suggestions that track limits could become an issue at the venue in 2023, de Vries is keen to focus more on building his experience at the circuit.
"I'll leave others to try and explore that area first," the AlphaTauri driver said.
"I think I need the track time, so I'm going to build up into my rhythm because, especially on these tracks, the evolution is huge.
"You have your first practice still at relatively hot temperatures, and then the track is constantly improving, so you definitely need the track time on a street track."
Join RacingNews365.com journalists Michael Butterworth and Dieter Rencken as they discuss all the key talking points ahead of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.