Sir Lewis Hamilton believes that Nyck de Vries has earned his spot in Formula 1 following his outstanding debut performance at the Italian Grand Prix.
De Vries replaced Alex Albon in the first practice session at the Spanish Grand Prix earlier this year, before standing in for Hamilton on Friday in France.
Aston Martin brought the Dutchman in for a practice appearance in Italy in Sebastian Vettel’s stead, and Albon’s bout of appendicitis meant that the 27-year-old’s weekend was not done yet.
The 2019 Formula 2 champion out-qualified team-mate Nicholas Latifi on the Saturday, before holding on to take two points in ninth in the race.
Hamilton came through from 19th on the grid to claim fifth, and the seven-time champion went to the media pen to congratulate de Vries on his magnificent debut after the chequered flag.
Hamilton had previously worked with de Vries at McLaren between 2010 and 2012 when the Dutchman was part of their young driver programme.
The now 37-year-old’s father, Anthony, following the end of his business partnership with Sir Lewis, spent much of his time promoting young talents such as de Vries and Paul di Resta, who raced with Force India between 2011 and 2013.
Hamilton and de Vries have a strong rapport as a result, so the Briton was delighted to see the 2021 Formula E champion finally get his shot in the pinnacle of motorsport.
“I haven’t seen his quali performance but Nyck is a very talented driver,” said Hamilton after qualifying.
“I’ve known him since he was really young, when I was at McLaren my dad was trying to help him get into Formula 1.
“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. 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.”
De Vries currently serves as test and reserve driver for Mercedes, but that relationship will come to an end at the close of this season.
The German side will not be able to help him find a seat in F1 after that, but de Vries recently confirmed that he has been in conversation with Williams, Alpine and AlphaTauri.