Nyck de Vries, Williams, Circuit de Catalunya, 2022

De Vries “felt there was more in there” after Williams practice debut

2022 Spanish Grand Prix

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Nyck de Vries admitted his first practice run for Williams in the Spanish Grand Prix was the most nervous he’d been in his last two years of racing.

The reigning Formula E and 2019 Formula 2 champion was given an opportunity to drive Alexander Albon’s Williams FW44 in the first hour of practice at the Circuit de Catalunya. He completed 28 laps in the session, finishing 18th in the times sheets ahead of Williams race driver Nicholas Latifi.

It was the first time De Vries had participated in a grand prix session in his career, having tested with Mercedes twice previously. The 27-year-old admitted he had nervously anticipated his first run in a practice session.

“I’m normally not that nervous for a free practice session!” De Vries admitted in response to a question from RaceFans. “I will admit I haven’t been so nervous then I was today in the past two years.

“Obviously I’m racing and fighting for race wins and championships. But making your debut in a Formula 1 weekend is very special and unique.

“I definitely felt some pressure, but once you’re in the car and you close your visor and start the engine, you just forget everything else. You stick to what you know and actually, that’s where I’m comfortable.”

Despite a productive session where he experienced no technical problems, made no notable mistakes and ended the session quicker than Latifi, De Vries described his performance as only “okay”.

“I’m never satisfied,” he said. “It’s never good enough. But no, don’t get me wrong. I was very pleased with my job.

“I just know where we are with both cars, I know that I went out very early on the C3 [softs] and I had quite a lot of traffic from Valtteri [Bottas] in sector three, so I just felt like there was more in there. And also knowing what we have on both sides. Everyone is obviously bringing upgrades, but I think there was more to come. But from my personal side, I think it was okay.”

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De Vries’ practice opportunity fuelled speculation over whether he is in contention for a race seat at Williams. Team boss Jost Capito admitted he had been under consideration the the seat now occupied by Albon.

Earlier this week, a motorsport journalist in Latifi’s hometown Toronto reported De Vries would replace him in the race seat for the rest of the season, but later retracted the claim. De Vries says his focus was purely on doing a good job in practice.

“I think we all just kind of focussed on this outing first before we even talk about the future,” he said.

“But again, that’s a little bit out of my hands and I think for me personally it was most important to do a good job here, not only taking future perspectives in consideration, but more for me as an individual. I always want to do well and when you get such opportunity, it’s not about just participating, you also want to show what you’re worth. I think I did a decent job and I’ll see what the future brings.”

With his racing programmes in Formula E and the World Endurance Championship, De Vries says he is not looking at 2023 as his best opportunity to finally break into the top tier of motorsport.

“You could arguably put it that way, but honestly me as an individual, I’m not really seeing it like that.

“I’m in Formula E and I’m happy there. We are competitive and fighting for a championship, defending a championship. And I’m also involved in WEC. I’m just seeing this as kind of an opportunity and I’m grateful to get a chance to be here and who knows what the future brings?”

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2022 Spanish Grand Prix

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Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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3 comments on “De Vries “felt there was more in there” after Williams practice debut”

  1. Well, given how his career went so far, just doing a good job in the car he is seems like a solid way to go about it. I do think he has promise, so if he’d be in the car next year, that’s great (though really, not replacing Latifi but Albon then? Has anyone who had to step into that car been behind Latifi in normal circumstances?).

  2. .9 of a second. not bad, latifi is embarrassing.

  3. Doesn’t sound like a world-beater, does he? There’s plenty of time for Formula E and sportscars after F1’s finished with you.

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