Nyck de Vries capped off a fine debut Formula 1 weekend with a ninth-placed finish at the Italian Grand Prix on Sunday.
The Dutchman had initially contested first practice with the Aston Martin team on Friday, and that, as far as he knew, was the end of his weekend’s programme.
He was up in the paddock club hospitality enjoying a cappuccino on Saturday morning when he received a call from Mercedes, who then asked him to head over to Williams.
Alex Albon had come down with appendicitis overnight, and he was subsequently ruled out of the remainder of the weekend.
At around 90 minutes’ notice, the 27-year-old needed to slurp down the rest of his coffee, brief with the Williams engineers, put on a race suit and have his seat fitted, as he had been selected as Albon’s replacement.
Thankfully, he had already completed some running with the British side earlier in the season, so they had a seat ready to put into the car for him, and he was set for final practice.
The former Formula E champion was just a tenth of a second slower than team-mate Nicholas Latifi, and he out-qualified the Canadian later in the afternoon.
He might even have made Q3 had it not been for an incorrect brake bias setting caused by the switch configuration on Albon’s steering wheel, to which he is not accustomed.
In the race, de Vries was holding eighth for much of the afternoon, and was only sent down the order when Sir Lewis Hamilton, Carlos Sainz and Sergio Perez came through having started further down due to penalties.
He caitalised on retirements for Fernando Aonso and Daniel Ricciardo, and grabbed two points on his debut.
Latifi is out of contract at the end of the season, and this weekend’s performance from de Vries possibly puts him in the best spot to succeed his fellow 27-year-old if the Grove-based side decide not to renew him.
Almost inevitably, there was ridicule of Latifi on social media as the pressure continues to mount on the Canadian.
A number of F1 fans urged Williams to “immediately” fire Latifi and replace him with the Dutchman.
“Hoping to see de Vries in the Williams again in Singapore,” one wrote.
“They need to immediately sack Nicholas Latifi after this embarrassment,” another chimed in.
De Vries described his debut as a “dream” while speaking to Sky Sports after the race.
“Honestly, I didn’t dare to dream such a debut, it’s been a very hectic past 24 hours, I didn’t really have much time to think,” he added.
“I had a very bad sleep, it went from excitement into nerves, and many different thoughts went through my head.
“And this morning, I was struggling to have breakfast but actually the closer we were getting to the race, the more excited I got, and whole kind of show and the driver parade and the excitement just got me going.
“I’m very thankful for the opportunity and also how we grabbed it with both hands as a team.”