Nyck de Vries has revealed that he barely slept a wink before he made his Formula 1 debut at the Italian Grand Prix on Sunday
De Vries has previously practiced with Williams and Mercedes in Spain and France respectively, before getting a run with Aston Martin in the first practice session in Italy on Friday.
The Dutchman then got a very late call-up to Williams when Alex Albon came down with appendicitis, and he out-qualified team-mate Nicholas Latifi, who was knocked out in Q1.
The 2019 Formula 2 champion might even have made it to Q3 had it not been for an incorrect brake setting while using steering wheel switches he was not used to.
That caused him to lock up at the Roggia Chicane, but P13 on Saturday would become eighth at the start of Sunday’s race when penalties were applied to Carlos Sainz, Sergio Perez, Sir Lewis Hamilton, Esteban Ocon and Valtteri Bottas.
The Dutchman got a solid start, and held on to ninth on track after three of the aforementioned five drivers had got past him, while Daniel Ricciardo and Fernando Alonso both suffered reliability failures in front.
In what is, pound for pound, the slowest car on the grid, de Vries scored points on a fabulous debut, and he did so after overcoming some understandable nerves.
“The last 24 hours have been a dream, I didn’t really have much time to think because everything was so rushed. I had a very bad sleep,” he said.
“It went from excitement to nerves and I didn’t dare look at my sleep tracking on my aura ring because I basically spent the whole night awake.
“But perhaps that helped me. I couldn’t think and I had to get on with the job.”
The former Formula E champion was able to hold position after a shaky start, and was reprimanded for a late incident with Zhou Guanyu in which he had driven erratically under the Safety Car.
All in all though, it was a tremendous team effort that may well have put de Vries on the map for a drive next year.
“My start wasn’t great but it was good enough to maintain position,” he affirmed.
“It was key for me to get into a rhythm and to not lose position because then your tyres are dirty and you are on the back foot.
“That is why I was really happy with our strategy and how we managed that, the pace was really good, the car was great and we made small adjustments from stint one to stint two.
“I asked for a lot of help from the team, how to deal with the tools on the car to influence the balance.
“I know we had a bit of help from the outside with grid penalties and retirements but hey, no one can take these points away from us.”
Latifi, who finished 15th, is out of contract at the end of the season, and de Vries may well end up being considered to replace the Canadian in 2023 by team principal and CEO, Jost Capito.