Nyck de Vries is possibly the most speculated driver at the moment, with the rumours building that he is set to replace Nicholas Latifi at Williams Racing.
It has even been rumoured that de Vries could fill Sir Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes seat, should the Brit decide to retire from Formula 1 amid the Silver Arrows’ struggles.
Latifi has struggled both this season and at the end of last season, famously crashing late on at the 2021 season finale; the reason for the infamous safety car.
The pressure on Latifi wasn’t helped at all by his team, who used De Vries at the recent Spanish Grand Prix.
Specifically, the reigning Formula E World Champion was used by Williams during FP1 in Spain, replacing Alex Albon for the session.
De Vries took part in one of Williams’ two mandated young driver sessions for this season.
To add further fuel to the fire for Latifi, De Vries was faster than him. The Dutchman ended the session 0.1s faster than the Canadian, with just 28 laps completed of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
De Vries, who is also Mercedes’ reserve and test driver, was praised recently by Williams head of vehicle performance Dave Robson, who highlighted that the Dutchman was “extremely good”.
“His pace was there,” Robson said.
“His ability to understand the tyre and do the out-lap correctly, was really impressive,
“And then after that, his feedback post-session was extremely good. He had some very useful comments on the balance of the car, which agrees quite well with what we’ve heard from the two race drivers.”
What made the Dutchman’s performance even more impressive was the limited amount of time he had, both in the car and in the simulator prior to the session.
With this in mind, Robson believes that De Vries is “worthy” of a seat in the pinnacle of motorsport.
Whilst De Vries is already 27-years-old and would be by no means one of the youngest drivers on the grid, Robson can see that the Dutch driver is an “absolute top quality competition driver”.
“Considering he only gets an hour in the car, I think he did a really good job, and he clearly has what he needs to be to be an absolute top quality competition driver,” said Robson.
“He’s worthy of a place on the grid, but so many people are. I think he took his opportunity well yesterday, and I think he should be pleased and proud of what he did.
“Everything he did was really good. He didn’t put a foot wrong. He completed the engineering programme that we needed him to do, which for us was the most important bit.
“But, not only did he not have a huge amount of time in the simulator, we gave him the prime tyre for his first run yesterday, which we knew would be a little bit difficult.
“But at least it gave him the opportunity to do a good number of laps, and then to go straight from that all the way to the qualifying compound is a big ask for anyone, and you can see in the lap time he did a very good job,” the Williams engineer concluded.