George Russell believes that Nyck de Vries' drive to P9 at the Italian Grand Prix proves that the Dutchman deserves a seat on the 2023 grid.
De Vries made his Formula 1 debut with Williams at Monza substituting for Alex Albon, who was hospitalised with appendicitis.
The 27-year-old took P9 and two World Championship points, equalling the teams' best result of the season so far, and finishing ahead of teammate Nicholas Latifi.
The result appears to have boosted his chances of securing a permanent F1 seat for next season, with positions still to be filled at the likes of Williams, Alpine and Haas.
De Vries is officially Mercedes' reserve driver and, as well as participating in a free practice session for the reigning Constructors' champions, he has tested for Williams and Aston Martin during the season.
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Former F2 rival backs de Vries for F1 seat
Mercedes' Russell, who raced against de Vries in karting and lower formulae such as Formula 2, was full of praise for the reigning Formula E champion.
Speaking in the post-race press conference after taking third at Monza, Russell paid tribute to de Vries, and backed him for a race drive next season.
"He obviously did an excellent job," Russell told media, including RacingNews365.com.
"Throughout all of our karting careers, the three of us [Russell, Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc] raced against him and knew him well.
"He was always one of the very best, and there's no doubt he's deserving of a place in Formula One.
"That's just how the sport is sometimes, there are 20 drivers, not everybody gets an opportunity but, certainly now, he's proved everything he has to."
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