Mercedes will be licking their lips following the Italian Grand Prix, with the belief that they’ve already sorted their future driver line-up once Sir Lewis Hamilton retires.
Mercedes reserve driver Nyck de Vries put in the performance of his life at Monza last weekend, where he made a late debut replacing Alex Albon at Williams.
After driving for Aston Martin in FP1 (the third team he’s driven for in FP1 this season), season seven Formula E World Champion De Vries was called up prior to FP3 to replace Albon, who had been rushed to hospital after being diagnosed with appendicitis.
The Dutchman was clearly thrown into the deep end; however, a new viewer to the sport would’ve been completely oblivious to the fact that it was his debut.
De Vries was nothing short of incredible, after making it to Q2 on his debut, and then matching the team’s best result of the season so far in the race.
De Vries qualified P13 but actually started from eighth, due to a number of other drivers having been awarded grid penalties.
The Dutch driver didn’t put a foot wrong during the race, on his way to an unbelievable ninth place finish.
In doing so he not only scored points on his debut, but he also matched Albon’s best result of the year.
The Silver Arrows reserve driver was well clear of team-mate Nicholas Latifi, who finished P15.
De Vries has already been rumoured as a potential replacement for the Canadian driver; however, after his next-level performance, Williams would be idiotic not to sign the 27-year-old.
De Vries proved that he deserves to be in the sport, with Mercedes most likely to be eyeing their reserve driver up as Hamilton’s replacement when he eventually decides to leave the sport.
The Dutchman’s performance was so good, he’s already achieved something that Latifi hasn’t this season, points.
It would be a massive shame if De Vries finds himself without a seat in the paddock next season, with the Dutch driver’s value most likely to have skyrocketed.
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff is adamant that the 2019 F2 World Champion “deserves to have a place” in the championship, something which is now looking ever more likely.
“Nyck deserves to have a place in F1. He has shown that because of the limited experience he had from driving around with the rake in FP1,” Wolff told reporters after qualifying on Saturday.
“Then he was thrown into the cold in FP3, not even at the beginning but at the end – that is a line in the sand. It puts down a marker.”