Nyck de Vries has expressed his regret at failing to follow then-Formula 2 rivals George Russell and Lando Norris into a Formula 1 promotion.
Russell and Norris both debuted in F2 in the 2018 season, with de Vries in his sophomore campaign and Alex Albon also a member of the stand-out quartet.
The four finished 1-2-3-4 in the final standings, but while champion Russell (Williams), Norris (McLaren) and Albon (Toro Rosso) all secured F1 race seats in 2019, de Vries was forced to carry on in the support series, ultimately claiming the title in his third season.
With no F1 seats then available, he headed to Formula E with Mercedes, becoming an F1 reserve in the process before making his debut in place of an ill Albon at Monza in 2022, finishing ninth for Williams.
He subsequently secured the long-held ambition of a full-time Grand Prix seat by signing for AlphaTauri for 2023, but blamed his own mistakes for not following his peers into F1 four years ago.
De Vries on 2018 F2 season
"If it were not for a few of my own mistakes, we would have been able to finish P2 or P3 [in the championship]," de Vries, who finished fourth, told the AlphaTauri podcast.
"We had very good pace, we won a good amount of races (five in the season), but I just made too many expensive mistakes, and especially in Formula 2 where you have the feature and sprint races, it can ruin a weekend.
"There were two times we were fighting for the win and I crashed, that means you basically lose two weekends.
"The top three, George, Lando and Alex were promoted to Formula 1, and I finished fourth and, in all honesty, I just looked at myself because I felt like it was my own mistake that I wasn't able to score more points.
"We definitely had the pace, and had more wins than people in front of us (three to one vs Norris), but I just lost too many points in situations where we were actually able to score big points.
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How Mercedes links came about
Having spent 2018 with the Prema squad, de Vries moved across to the ART Grand Prix outfit for his final crack at the F2 title - the team he had raced for in 2016 in GP3 - believing this move to be lucky.
"Luckily, ART and myself got back together to [continue from] our year in 2016 in GP3, and then it all came together and we won the championship.
"At the time, Mercedes was building a new team in Formula E and I moved away from McLaren because I didn't really see it leading to anything, even if I won Formula 2.
"Then I started doing some simulator work at Mercedes, and that's how the working relationship started - and that's how I ended up in Formula E."
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