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F1 2022

De Vries after dream F1 debut: "Now back to reality"

While Max Verstappen was the winning Dutch driver out on track, Nyck de Vries won over the attention of the media on his Formula 1 debut.

De Vries Monza
To news overview © XPBimages

It is a few days after the controversial Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix when RacingNews365 chats with Nyck de Vries, the most talked about driver of the past weekend.

He got into the Williams on Saturday afternoon, beating teammate Nicholas Latifi, qualifying for Q2, eventually starting eighth and finishing the race in ninth.

Williams team principal Jost Capito said he believed De Vries could bring home valuable points for the team, but that he had exceeded his expectations. According to Toto Wolff, De Vries has shown what he is capable of, while fellow former Dutch F1 driver Giedo van der Garde was very proud.

"Things like that are nice to hear," says De Vries. "It's not obvious that you just get in and deliver exactly what is expected of you. So that's nice to hear, but you still have to make it happen for a while."

De Vries thoroughly enjoyed the weekend that flew by, but a day later everything was back to normal: "Everything passed like a flash and the call was very late, so there was little time to get around.

"That was perhaps a good thing, but actually we are back to reality now. Then you quickly go back to the order of the day. But I certainly enjoyed what I did over the past 72 hours.

"You live completely on a cloud and you are reminiscing about what happened, but at some point you have to move on and that point was reached fairly quickly."

What does 'back to the old rhythm' mean for an F1 driver? For example, what did his Monday after the GP look like?

"On Monday morning I went into the sea for a while and sat on a towel. From the afternoon it went back to normal," he says.

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

De Vries did not speak to Albon

After taking part in Friday practice for Aston Martin, De Vries suddenly found himself having to get into Williams gear when the team announced Alex Albon couldn't drive due to being diagnosed with appendicitis.

One minute he was gearing up to be reserve driver for Mercedes, next he found himself heading out for final practice in the FW44. Was there contact between De Vries and Albon at any point?

"No, we have not spoken," said De Vries, who assumes that Albon will be behind the wheel again in Singapore. "That's also what I understood, so I have the same information as you."

De Vries came out of the car quite cramped and never made a secret of the fact that driving the Grand Prix was a physically demanding test, be he rubbishes claims that the car was not completely comfortable when he raced.

"A Formula 1 seat is of course not a sofa," laughs De Vries. "It will never be completely comfortable, you will always feel some discomfort after such a long time behind the wheel, but in general I was comfortable in the car."

De Vries is a real all-rounder, a look at the cars he drove last season alone underlines that. He drove the entire season in Formula E, drove several free practice sessions in Formula 1, participated in major endurance races such as the 24 Hours of Le Mans and he did an IndyCar test.

Has the need to constantly adapt to different material helped him adapt quickly within Williams?

"Yes, without a doubt. I'm in general in favor of racing as much as possible anyway. That's what it's all about and car racing is not a sport like football, tennis on basketball.

"Those are sports that you can do on a daily basis, we only practice our sport on race weekends. That's a limiting factor. Of course you have the simulators these days, but in the end that's not quite the reality."

It's nice to have that variety and to have the opportunity to compete in all those championships.

- De Vries

In terms of the car he most enjoys driving out of the ones he has experienced across the World Endurance Championship (WEC), Formula E, and F1, he explains the LMP2 car he raced with Team Netherlands in WEC is the one he adapted to the easiest.

"I think the Oreca 07 LMP2 car is a very complete car, but every car has its charm. It's nice to have that variety and to have the opportunity to compete in all those championships. On top of that, Formula 1 is Formula 1..."

If every car has its charm, what particularly appealed to him about the Williams FW44 that enabled him to pull out a ninth place at Monza - only the third points-scoring occasion for the team?

"That it was competitive," he says. "It was a good weekend for Williams. The car is very efficient on low downforce circuits, so it promised to be a good weekend anyway. The car was well balanced and therefore competitive enough to drive in the top ten."

De Vries did that convincingly with P9: "I hope I was able to make my supporters proud in this way."

The Dutchman made no secret of his desire to make the full-time switch to Formula 1, but nothing is clear about his future. You can read about that later on RacingNews365.

The interview was conducted before it emerged that De Vries met Helmut Marko in Austria last week.

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