If anyone knows what Nick de Vries was going through when he was suddenly called up to take part in his first F1 Grand Prix at the Italian Grand Prix, it’s definitely George Russell.
Both drivers have been Mercedes development drivers for many years and were competing against each other in the 2018 Formula 2 championship, which was won by George Russell. The following year, Nick de Vries won the F2 championship.
But while George Russell has signed an agreement with the Williams F1 team to spend three seasons at the back of the F1 grid, Nick de Vries has chosen to race for the Mercedes Formula E team and secure the 2021 title that was obtained.
However, Nick de Vries’ sights are now fully back on F1, taking part in free practice sessions for three different teams this year – Williams, Mercedes and Aston Martin.
Nick de Vries was relaxing over a cappuccino in the Paddock Club on Saturday morning after finishing his last working day with Aston Martin at Monza when Williams asked him to come to his camping van as soon as possible.
Alexander Albon was ill and Williams told Nick de Vries to take part in qualifying and the final of the Italian F1 Grand Prix less than an hour into the final practice session.
George Russell sympathizes with Nick de Vries and pulls out of reigning champions Mercedes F1 team after Lewis Hamilton tests positive for coronavirus after 36 races with Williams in 2020 I remembered the moment I was told to do .
George Russell had some F1 racing experience at the time and was ready after being told he would be competing almost a week before the Sakir F1 Grand Prix. So unlike Nick de Vries who was reported 40 minutes ago, he didn’t have to worry about what was to come.
“Honestly, it was probably harder for him than it was for me,” admitted George Russell.
“I was, of course, a full-time racing driver at the time.”
Nick de Vries seemed to have the advantage of being on track in an Aston Martin the day before, but George Russell may have been another obstacle he had to overcome that day and suggested.
“I jumped into the Williams from Aston Martin on Friday… it’s a different car. It’s a different seat position,” explained George Russell.
“I remember driving Formula 2 at the time, testing with Mercedes and Force India. It took a few laps to get used to the different feeling of how those cars responded.
George Russell finished his first race with the Mercedes F1 team in 9th place in the points. Coincidentally, Nick de Vries had the same result on Sunday at the F1 Italian Grand Prix. Considering his Williams car, perhaps the most significant achievement.
After Sakir, George Russell scored another four points before finally moving full-time to Mercedes in early 2022 after returning to Williams for the rest of the season’s races and all of 2021.
George Russell is yet to win a race, but this year at Monza he has taken his seventh podium of the season and is enjoying a remarkably consistent fourth place in the Drivers’ Championship standings.
The question is whether Nick de Vries will follow a similar path and use his impressive first performance at Monza to secure a full-time place on the F1 grid for 2023.
It is also unclear whether Alexander Albon will be able to recover from a bout of appendicitis and post-operative complications and be ready to race in Singapore at the end of the month.
If not, it is unclear whether Nick de Vries will ever get another chance at the wheel of Williams. Williams’ official reserve driver is Jack Aitken, but he was struggling elsewhere last week, so the team turned to Nick de Vries under a driver-sharing deal with Mercedes.
Ironically, Jack Aitken made his F1 debut in place of George Russell in the 2020 Sakhir F1 GP, but the FW43 failed to score points on that occasion.
Category: F1 / George Russell / Williams / Nick de Vries