Nyck de Vries has previously gotten behind the wheel of a Mercedes Formula One car in post-season testing, but his official F1 debut followed at Barcelona. After a week in which he was linked to a full seat as a replacement for Nicholas Latifi, De Vries was allowed to sit in Alexander Albon’s FW44. De Vries would circumnavigate the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya a total of 28 times, not doing any crazy things and even finishing in front of the much-discussed Latifi. He has thus fulfilled all expectations, although the reigning Formula E Champion himself remains a perfectionist.
Family gift for a unique and long-awaited occasion
“I have to admit that I wasn’t as nervous as I was today. I’m fighting for wins and championships, but making your debut at an F1 race weekend is very special,” said De Vries at Williams hospital. Motorsport.com to know. De Vries also noticed how special Formula 1 is in his environment. “First of all, my cell phone literally exploded. My father sent me pictures last night of where he has been for the past few days. I didn’t understand it, but then he suddenly stood in front of me here in Barcelona. He had flown over to Monaco, slept in my studio unbeknownst to me and taken my car not knowing my mum was here too, which is wonderful to see that we have come a long way and walked that road together. It is unique to have this opportunity now. “
“I also tried to enjoy it as much as possible. In life we often forget to enjoy moments, but I tried to do just that. However, I’m also very self-critical and think there was a lot more in it today. That’s true technically, but also because of the traffic I encountered in the last sector. There are absolutely no excuses, but I always want to get better,” continued De Vries. “And don’t get me wrong, I’m absolutely happy with my session, but I went out early on the C3 tire and was in sector with Valtteri 3. But on a personal level, I think it went well.”
Is it important to finish before Latifi?
The latter is reinforced by the timeline. De Vries says he only put in two and a half hours in the Williams simulator on Monday but still managed to finish ahead of the much more experienced Latifi. Does that say anything, especially with all the rumors surrounding the Canadian? “Well, we live in a competitive world where your teammate is the best reference. I didn’t really have a specific target to beat Nicholas, although we did. We shouldn’t put too much stock in it, I’m mainly concerned with my personal performance.” When asked if he was surprised to be ahead of Latifi, the answer was: “Obviously I believe in my own abilities, but if you don’t real preparation goes into it, you never know what to expect.”
This is compounded by the fact that his F1 foray is a world of difference from normal Formula E work. “Yes, for comparison: In turn 9 we are already driving faster here than we can with a Formula E car on the straight. That makes the strain a lot bigger and Barcelona are known for being neck heavy anyway respect I had no problems and was actually better prepared than I thought. It was mainly about the processes and the car itself. The correlation with the simulator is good, but a session like this doesn’t immediately give you the confidence to push and that’s me. Of course, I wasn’t used to downforce at all with these electric cars, but strangely I have I felt a bit too little grip in the F1 car after a while in the F1 car. That shows that you adapt very quickly to what you have.” At least that’s what De Vries did, or as he summarized on Friday afternoon: “I took my chance.”