2023 AlphaTauri Formula 1 driver Nyck De Vries has praised Lewis Hamilton and George Russell for their support - saying it "meant the world" to him. De Vries is currently a Mercedes reserve driver, but will make his full-time Grand Prix debut next season, having impressed for Williams at the Italian Grand Prix after he replaced an appendicitis-struck Alex Albon. The Dutch driver, who won the 2019 Formula 2 championship, was announced at AlphaTauri during the Japanese GP weekend, following the news that they had released Pierre Gasly to fill the vacant Alpine seat. When asked about his relationship with the full-time Mercedes drivers, the Dutchman was full of praise for Hamilton and Russell, who were quick to support his stand-in efforts at Monza.
De Vries on Hamilton and Russell
"Lewis actually sent me a message on Saturday night [in Monza] which was super kind," De Vries explained on the F1 Beyond the Grid podcast. "Both Lewis and George congratulated me after the race [where he finished ninth] and hugged me and everything. "So, receiving their support meant the world to me, and it was very overwhelming to receive the support, not from the outside, but very much from the inside. "They know what it takes, they know what it is, and to feel their goodwill was good."
De Vries: Verstappen acted like an older brother in Monza
De Vries also spoke about his warm relationship with Red Bull driver Max Verstappen - the other Dutch driver set to be on the 2023 grid. "We've known each other since we were kids. We've grown up in the same era of racing, we approached karting and racing in our earlier years [in a] very similar [way]," he said. "We both travelled around in a van with our dads, and we just really respected each other, and saw each other every weekend pretty much. "Strangely, because Max is two years younger than me, we never raced against each other - Monza was actually the first time in our lives. "Ironically, we even ended up next to each other on the grid [seventh for Verstappen, eighth for De Vries] - we were texting about it the evening prior to the race. "On the grid, he came to see me and kind of as an elder brother, he came to me and encouraged me a little bit, which was very kind. He's been very supportive."