NYCK DE VRIES secured points on his F1 debut after a great performance at the Italian Grand Prix.
Italian Grand Prix: Preview lap of Formula One track
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Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen were spotted congratulating F1 rookie Nyck de Vries after the Dutchman secured points on debut. Hamilton was seen embracing the youngster in the media pen moments after the race with Verstappen hugging the 27-year-old moments after stepping out of the car.
De Vries is a fellow Dutchman while the rookie would have worked with Hamilton when he was in the McLaren young driver programme from 2010. De Vries finished the race in P9 after benefiting from grid penalties to start inside the top-10 despite being knocked out in Q2 on Saturday.
He held his own on the soft tyres in the opening stint having been aided by a long DRS train in the midfield to keep in touch with those in front. The race ended behind the safety car while he was running ninth, giving him a dream start in his first race.
De Vries was also awarded F1’s Driver of the Day award after an excellent display behind the wheel of the Williams.
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Nyck de Vries was congratulated by Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen after securing points (Image: F1 TV)
Meanwhile, team-mate Nichola Latifi finished 15th as he struggled to make any in-roads. De Vries stepped into the cockpit after Alex Albon was taken ill with appendicitis on Saturday.
The Dutchman happened to be at Monza after he was handed an FP1 drive with Aston Martin on Saturday. Speaking after the race, De Vries claimed he had grabbed the opportunity with both hands”.
There is still speculation over his F1 future with race seats still available at several teams next season. Haas, Alpine, Alpha Tauri, Alfa Romeo and Williams are all yet to confirm their official line-ups for next year.
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Nyck de Vries finished P9 in his first race (Image: Getty)
De Vries added: “I’m feeling really good about today and think it was crucial to get the start right and a clean run into lap one. I got into a DRS train which helped to stick with the pack.
“However I think the pace was really good and we made a good call on strategy and tyre management. Driver of the day makes me so happy and I’m very pleased and thankful that I got given the opportunity and I grabbed it with both hands. It was a great day for the team and whilst grid penalties played in our favour, ultimately, we did a great race so I’m very happy for everyone in the team and for myself.
“Hopefully I will get a shot next year, but this is definitely a dream come true and I’m very impressed with what we’ve done in short notice, so I’ll go enjoy it now.”