Grand prix

Toto Wolff praises Nyck de Vries: ‘No one could have done a better job than him’ | F1

De Vries was drafted in as a last minute replacement for Alex Albon at the Italian Grand Prix after the Thai driver was forced into hospital with appendicitis.

The Dutchman performed remarkably, reaching Q2 and out-qualifying teammate Nicholas Latifi before converting his strong grid position into a top 10 finish on race day.

De Vries has been Mercedes reserve driver since 2021, while driving for the German manufacturer in Formula E.

Speaking after the Italian Grand Prix on Sunday, Wolff commented on de Vries’ performance.

“I like him. He is just a good young man,” Wolff said. “He’s not only fast and has shown that in the junior categories, but he is also intelligent and a good team player, that is why he deserved it here. I don’t think that anyone else could have possibly done a better job in what he did. 

“You are in an Aston Martin, you are driving around with a rake and then you are being drafted in at the last minute in a different car, you are beating your team-mate by quite a margin, you are starting eighth and you finish ninth.”

Three-time F1 champion Niki Lauda spent several years as part of Mercedes’ management team.

Whenever a driver impressed, particularly Lewis Hamilton, he would take off his red cap as a sign of respect.

Wolff believes had Lauda been present at Monza on Sunday, he would have done it.

“Niki would have taken his hat off as a driver,” he added.

‘Like a job interview or audition’

De Vries has likened his one-off appearance at Monza to a ‘job interview or audition’.

“Yeah, I mean any time you’re in the car you’re expected to do a good job,” de Vries added. “And any time you get a chance to drive a Formula 1 car it is a kind of job interview and an audition. You’ve got to take those opportunities, but you’ve also got to use them sensibly because there’s always a trade-off of doing too much and too little.

“But I am just grateful that it worked out well and played into our hands. We took some points and it was a great performance. And no one can take that away from us.”

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