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Nyck de Vries’s performance on his F1 race debut at the Italian Grand Prix was one of the stories of the weekend.
The Dutchman drove for Aston Martin on Friday in his third practice outing of the year following previous appearances for Williams in Spain and Mercedes in France. But his weekend was turned up upside on Saturday morning when he was called up to drive for Williams after lead driver Alex Albon was ruled out with appendicitis.
De Vries took part in free practice three and then qualified an impressive 13th, which then became eighth when various grid penalties were applied. The former Formula 2 and Formula E champion then impressed in the race, bringing his Williams home in the points in ninth, with teammate Nicholas Latifi back in 15th.
READ MORE: Damon Hill issues brutal Nicholas Latifi verdict as Nyck de Vries stars at Italian GP
De Vries’s performance has enhanced his chances of replacing Latifi full-time next year, with some fans even calling for him to get the Canadian’s seat for the rest of this season.
De Vries, who is contracted to Mercedes as a reserve driver, works closely with Lewis Hamilton and is friends with fellow Dutchman Max Verstappen, and both world champions warmly congratulated him after the race.
Speaking after qualifying Hamilton said: “He’s been a real valuable member of our team, he works does a lot of work on the simulator. He’s always super-positive, he fires me emails.
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"And so I was so happy to hear this morning that he’ll be given the opportunity to drive. He deserves a place here, I think, so I hope today’s been good for him.”
Verstappen offered some advice to his countryman before the race. Asked what he told him, the world champion said: “First of all, enjoy it. Don’t think about it too much, don’t stress about it too much. I remember my first [race]. It happens so quickly, everything, but if you just tell yourself ‘see what happens’… and I think he handled it really well.
“We know each other really well, it was just a quick little motivation speech.”
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