Mercedes reserve driver Nyck de Vries is without a doubt the most spoken about driver in the paddock currently, following his unbelievable last-minute debut at the Italian Grand Prix.
After believing his weekend in Monza was over after driving for Aston Martin in FP1, the Dutchman was called up to replace Alex Albon at Williams prior to FP3.
Albon was unfortunately diagnosed with appendicitis, which saw the Thai driver ruled out of the remainder of the weekend at the ‘Temple of Speed’.
De Vries had driven the FW44 briefly before, during FP1 at the Spanish Grand Prix much earlier in the season.
The Dutchman was reportedly drinking a coffee when he got the unexpected phone call, one he will surely never forget.
What followed the phone call was nothing short of astounding, as De Vries not only made it to Q2, but he went on to match the team’s best finish of the season so far.
The Dutchman finished ninth at Monza, equalling Albon’s best result of the year.
His points finish also dropped Nicholas Latifi to 21st in the Drivers’ Championship, with the Canadian still yet to score a point.
De Vries’ had already been in discussions with Williams and Alpine about a potential seat next season; however, the season seven Formula E World Champion’s performance caught the attention of Red Bull and sister side AlphaTauri.
Should Pierre Gasly leave the Faenza-based team for Alpine, then De Vries is now the favourite to take the Frenchman’s place.
De Vries confirmed rumours that he flew to Austria to have talks with Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko, admitting “those are the facts”.
The Mercedes reserve is more than aware that he has a number of options but is cautious that a lot of what is to come is out of his “control”.
“Those are the facts,” De Vries told Dutch TV show ‘Humberto on Saturday’.
“I don’t think I can just choose, because things are still largely out of my control.
“I’ve been in talks with Williams for a very long time and I happened to be able to make my debut there. So that could be a logical step.”
Sir Lewis Hamilton believes De Vries more than “deserves a place” on the grid next season.
The seven-time World Champion has worked closely with the Dutchman and has actually known him since he was “really young”.
“I haven’t seen his quali performance but Nyck is a very talented driver,” Hamilton said after qualifying at Monza.
“I’ve known him since he was really young, when I was at McLaren my dad was trying to help him get into Formula One.
“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.”