Nyck de Vries’ superb debut performance at the Italian Grand Prix appears to have secured him a place on the 2023 grid.
The Dutch Formula 2 and Formula E champion replaced Alex Albon at the last minute at Monza after the Williams driver was ruled out with appendicitis.
De Vries started race weekend testing for Aston Martin, and despite the difficulties of having to swap racing cars, steering wheels and seats on such short notice, he incredibly finished ninth, earning two points .
The 27-year-old decimated fellow Williams driver Nicholas Latifi in both qualifying and the race, and with only Albon signed for next season, the Canadian’s seat looked to be in jeopardy.
De Vries beat Latifi’s points tally for the season in a single race, while his two points are 33% of Williams’ 2022 tally in the constructors’ standings.
However, Williams’ inactivity in nailing De Vries has come under attack from Alpha Tauri, with reports in the Netherlands claiming a deal is “close” to being done.
De Telegraph reports that once current Alpha Tauri driver Pierre Gasly seals his move to Alpine, De Vries will replace him.
Alpha Tauri is the sister team to championship leaders Red Bull, who use the B team to produce top talent such as Max Verstappen, Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo.
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That talent, however, appears to have dried up for the time being, with Red Bull fielding five academy drivers in F2, none of them deemed fit for Formula 1.
Due to the lack of a notable candidate to replace Gasly, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner and team adviser Helmut Marko had revealed they were looking to the US IndyCar series instead.
The pair have confirmed that American Colton Herta is their one and only option for the role, and that Gasly will not be allowed to leave unless the IndyCar star gets a super license to race in F1.
But thanks to De Vries showing he is clearly ready for the top level thanks to his Italian display, Alpha Tauri has his candidate, allowing Gasly to replace Fernando Alonso at Alpine.
Horner and Marko were clearly not the only ones impressed with De Vries’ performance at Monza, with the Dutchman winning the F1 Driver of the Day award on his debut and he was the talk of the paddock.
George Russell, who beat De Vries for the 2018 F2 title, was full of praise, saying the Dutchman’s performance was even more impressive than his own heroic replacement performance for Mercedes in 2020.
“I think [this was] harder than him than he was for me to be honest, I was a full time F1 driver,” he explained.
“Scoring points on your debut with Williams is pretty spectacular.
“Throughout our karting careers he has always been one of the best and there is no doubt that he deserves a place in F1.
“There are 20 places but now he has proven everything he has to do.”
Lewis Hamilton added that De Vries ‘deserves to be here’, fellow Dutchman and ‘great friend’ Verstappen praised the ‘good job’ under difficult circumstances.