Nyck de Vries: Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen praise F1 hopeful as Red Bull rumours swirl for 2023


Nyck de Vries has confirmed that he met with Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko last week, with the Dutchman a contender to replace Pierre Gasly at AlphaTauri; Mercedes insist their reserve – who shone at the Italian GP as Alex Albon’s replacement – deserves a seat in Formula 1

Last Updated: 20/09/22 9:34am

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Max Verstappen and George Russell offer some advice to Nyck de Vries following his impressive Formula One debut at the Italian Grand Prix

Max Verstappen and George Russell offer some advice to Nyck de Vries following his impressive Formula One debut at the Italian Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen lavished Nyck de Vries with praise for his performance in his Formula 1 debut, with rumours now swirling that the Dutchman is edging towards a full-time race seat for 2023.

De Vries, filling in for Alex Albon as he battled appendicitis, proved a superb deputy at the Italian GP as he managed Williams’ joint-best result of the season in ninth, beating seasoned team-mate Nicholas Latifi.

It has been a long time coming for De Vries, who has claimed Formula 2 and Formula E titles in his established career but had been patiently waiting to step up from his Mercedes reserve duties in F1.

“Incredibly happy for Nyck, I’m really proud of him,” Mercedes driver Hamilton said at Monza. “He’s such a good lad, a good human, and he’s been a good part of our team working with us.

“For Nyck to have jumped in and finished in the top 10, that’s mega for your first race.”

Nyck de Vries (right) celebrates with Williams boss Jost Capito after the Italian GP

Nyck de Vries (right) celebrates with Williams boss Jost Capito after the Italian GP

Dutch counterpart and world championship leader Max Verstappen also praised his “great friend” De Vries, 27.

“For Nyck to jump in and deliver this performance is definitely not easy at all,” said Verstappen. “I think he did a great job from the things I saw, also in terms of defending.

“He just kept his cool, didn’t make mistakes and I’m very happy for him to score the points. It’s impressive, of course, in your first race.”

‘He deserves F1 seat’ – and could De Vries end up at AlphaTauri?

De Vries, who has driven in practice for Mercedes this season after leading the Silver Arrows to a Formula E title last year, has long been linked with a seat for 2023 – and there have been developments since his F1 debut to suggest that he may well be on the grid full time.

Already, understandably, linked with Williams, De Vries is reportedly being lined up by Alpine for a test as they consider their options for a vacant seat, while Red Bull and AlphaTauri also seemed to have entered the fray.

German publication Motorsport-Total have reported that Red Bull – after moving on from IndyCar star Colton Herta due to superlicense issues – have set their sights on De Vries to replace Pierre Gasly at AlphaTauri.

De Vries has since confirmed in the Dutch media that he met with Helmut Marko, Red Bull’s adviser and driver transfer specialist, last Friday.

Nyck de Vries says it felt like a 'dream' to finish ninth on his Formula 1 debut after stepping in for Alex Albon in the Williams

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Nyck de Vries says it felt like a ‘dream’ to finish ninth on his Formula 1 debut after stepping in for Alex Albon in the Williams

Nyck de Vries says it felt like a ‘dream’ to finish ninth on his Formula 1 debut after stepping in for Alex Albon in the Williams

With Gasly Alpine’s preferred choice for their aforementioned spot, Red Bull would want a driver, while still young with potential, to hit the ground running with their sister outfit, and De Vries could fit the bill.

He would be a popular choice in the paddock, too.

“There’s no doubt he’d deserve a place in Formula 1,” said George Russell, Hamilton’s Mercedes team-mate. “That’s just how the sport is. Not everybody gets an opportunity but certainly now he’s proved everything he has to.”

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff added: “What else can he do in terms of performance? No training, jump in the car he hasn’t driven… he showed what he’s capable of doing.”

De Vries, speaking to Sky Sports F1, said his future was out of his hands and said “not everything is based on merit”.

“Of course I’m not entitled to decide any line-up, so that’s not up to me. Again, I’m just very grateful and happy that I took this opportunity and I was allowed to live this moment.

“In this world not everything is based on merit and there are more factors that play a role in deciding our line-up. I’m glad I showed a little bit of myself this weekend.”





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