Alpine should forget about Pierre Gasly and sign this 27-year-old racer

Nyck de Vries finished ninth at the Italian Grand Prix last weekend.

Nyck de Vries made waves last weekend when he practiced for Aston Martin, and raced with Williams at the Italian Grand Prix.

By our estimation, this has only happened three times before, and it was an opportunity that was long overdue for the Dutchman.

De Vries had been waiting for a chance to arise with McLaren when he was part of their young driver programme, but he was released when it became apparent that there was no room for him.

Since then, the now 27-year-old has won the Formula 2 title as well as the Formula E Championship, so those who have been paying attention to his career in recent years will know that this was a call-up long in the making.

READ: Toto Wolff comments on Nyck de Vries’ future in Formula 1

De Vries had already practiced with Williams in Spain, and then Mercedes in France, before appearance number three took place with Aston Martin during Friday practice in Monza.

That, for all intents and purposes, was that. The F2 and FE champion would sit out the rest of the weekend and shadow the Mercedes team as Sir Lewis Hamilton and George Russell made a bid for the podium.

However, Alex Albon came down with appendicitis on Friday night, so Williams were in need of a replacement for final practice – up stepped de Vries.

The Dutchman went just one tenth of a second slower than Nicholas Latifi on Saturday morning, before the Canadian was knocked out in the first qualifying session.

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De Vries made it through though, and he ended up 13th; more might have been possible were it not for a brake setting error that saw him lock up on his final run.

Grid penalties for Hamilton, Sergio Perez, Carlos Sainz, Esteban Ocon and Valtteri Bottas lifted him to eighth for the start, and his race performance was fantastic.

The former Mercedes EQ racer held onto his place in the top 10, and the driver making his debut at short notice looked as though he had been part of the grid for years.

Indeed, de Vries showed that he is a driver of experienced, capable driver with his ninth-placed finish that forced Latifi back down to 21st in the championship.

Two Williams drivers have scored points for the British side in 2022, and Latifi, one of their full-time racers, is not one of them.

The 27-year-old is a loved member of the paddock; he has a warm, vibrant personality, but he has not been able to deliver the performance Williams have been looking for on a consistent basis.

It looks likely that the 2019 F2 runner-up will leave when his contract expires at the end of the season, but who would replace him?

As admirably as Logan Sargeant has performed in F2 this year, Williams may be wise to keep him there for one more year, and de Vries might be the perfect option to slot in.

Team principal, Jost Capito, had Alpine reserve Oscar Piastri in his thoughts when weighing up his driver options for next season, but in de Vries, he has an experienced, proven racer who has already done a superb job within the Grove-based squad.

Surely Williams might be tempted, but would Alpine also swoop in for him?

Well, team principal Otmar Szafnauer has 14 names to choose from, and de Vries might be one of them – he may also save them some money.

Having mismanaged the contractual situation of both Fernando Alonso and Oscar Piastri, the French team would have to buy out the contract of Pierre Gasly, who is contracted to AlphaTauri until the end of next year, if they are to sign him.

There is no tangible clause in the 26-year-old’s contract, so Alpine would need to negotiate a price with Red Bull, and it would surely be a massive one.

They already have to pay a substantial sum in legal fees to McLaren after the contract recognition board (CRB) determined that Piastri’s contract with Zak Brown is legitimate, so while Gasly is an attractive option, is he the best one financially?

READ: Nyck de Vries warns of dangerous precedent as Red Bull driver deal set to fall apart

Maybe, and if he and Esteban Ocon can sit down and smooth out any issues they have, it would work even better, but de Vries might just be the more suitable option.

There are some tough choices for Szafnauer to make, but if he wants Gasly, and if he can afford Gasly, he should aim for the Frenchman.

Williams should really be looking to snap up de Vries for 2023, but be it Williams, Alpine, Haas or anyone else silly season links the Dutchman with, it would be a great shame not to see Nyck de Vries on the grid next season.