‘I grabbed my opportunity with both hands!’ – De Vries discusses 2023 prospects after stunning F1 debut
Nyck de Vries hailed a "dream" F1 debut as his last-minute call-up to Williams in place of the unwell Alex Albon saw him out-qualify and out-race regular driver Nicholas Latifi at Monza.
De Vries started the Italian Grand Prix weekend with an FP1 appearance for Aston Martin, but was drafted in at rival team Williams when Albon came down with appendicitis ahead of Saturday's track action.
Despite having no mileage in the FW44 at Monza, De Vries progressed to Q2 – as Latifi dropped out – and converted his eighth-place grid spot into a ninth-place finish, which gave Williams two crucial points.
Reflecting on the weekend, which marked his full Grand Prix debut after a handful of practice outings, De Vries said: "The whole experience, from yesterday until now, has just been a dream.
"Jumping on a car on the drivers’ parade and seeing all the excitement for Formula 1, getting the opportunity to race, starting in the top 10, executing a good race, scoring points debut, being called ‘Driver of the Day’ – it’s been amazing."
Talk then naturally shifted to the chances of De Vries landing a race seat for the 2023 season, with Williams one of several F1 teams yet to confirm their full driver line-ups.
Pushed on how he sees his future unfolding, 2019 F2 champion De Vries said: "Ultimately, it’s not up to me to decide whether I should have a seat or not. Of course, I can only do my job.
"We live in a competitive industry, so you’re as good as your last race, and you’re always expected to perform – luckily I did that this weekend and I grabbed this opportunity with both hands."
One man not surprised by De Vries’s eye-catching performance was Toto Wolff, boss of the Mercedes F1 team, for whom the 27-year-old Dutchman also acts as a reserve driver.
Speaking to Sky Sports F1, Wolff emphasised: "I think, what else should he do in terms of performance than what he has shown today? No training, [he] jumped in a car that he hadn’t driven, straight into FP3. Yeah, it showed what he’s capable of doing."
After the race, De Vries was summoned by the stewards for "driving erratically" during the late Safety Car period, but he escaped with a reprimand and kept his memorable points finish.