After storming his way to the 2019 FIA Formula 2 Championship title, it’s time for Nyck de Vries to achieve his childhood dream and showcase all his skills on the greatest stage of all, as AlphaTauri has announced that the Dutchman will be stepping up to Formula 1 with them in 2023.
With eight wins, 23 podiums and seven poles across his three F2 seasons, de Vries has earned his place amongst the stars of the second tier, blending outright speed with the determination and focus to make the most of whatever’s thrown at him.
We take a look back at five momentous moments on his journey from F2.
HIS F2 DEBUT AND MAIDEN VICTORY
Stepping up to the F2 grid with Rapax in 2017 following a solid GP3 campaign, de Vries immediately set out to prove himself. Scoring points in both races on his debut weekend in Sakhir, he continued his momentum by netting scoring two more top 10 finishes in Barcelona and the Monte Carlo Feature Race, and it wouldn’t be long before he’d be taking his first trip all the way to the top of the podium.
Lining up alongside his teammate on the front row, the Dutchman put his foot to the floor as the five lights went out. Nailing your start around the Principality is crucial and he took full advantage of his textbook getaway to snatch the lead into Sainte Devote.
A tap to the barriers at Tabac was the only blot on a perfect report card and he reached the chequered flag with a nearly 10-second gap to the rest of the field.
HUNGARY FOR THE WIN
There’s no shortage of standout wins from the Dutch dynamo, but if we had to pick one, his 2018 Budapest Feature Race victory has to be up there. A pre-race thunderstorm set the stage for a wet/dry thriller and despite the rain, de Vries shone.
Capitalising on a slow getaway ahead, the then PERTAMINA PREMA Theodore Racing driver charged up to second off the line. While Sergio Sette Camara and later Lando Norris extended their lead, de Vries bided his time as dry patches formed along the Hungaroring circuit.
As the field traded their knackered wets for a fresh set of mediums, the tide swiftly began to turn in his favour – slashing Norris’ 14-second advantage before his pit stop to less than a second in only nine laps. Then, it was time to pounce.
At one with the tyres, de Vries showed no hesitation as he hunted the Brit down into the chicane. With his superior grip on the slicks on his side, he surged his way through and drove off into the distance to claim an unforgettable victory by 16.8s.
THE SWEET TASTE OF REVENGE AND TITLE GLORY
Having missed out on a shot at the Championship glory, de Vries wasn’t going to let a chance at the 2019 title pass him by. Whilst the opening round didn’t go according to plan, the ART Grand Prix driver would soon become a regular feature on the top three rostrum, and he took his place on the podium in all the following nine rounds.
Pocketing an unprecedented 12 podiums along the way - the most of any Champion so far – it was his mix of patience, self-belief and impressive consistency that allowed him to build a lead over Nicholas Latifi and never looked back. And that wasn’t to say his season didn’t have its blockbuster moments, from coming out victorious in the Barcelona Sprint Race after a jaw-dropping duel with the late Anthoine Hubert to a commanding Monaco Feature Race win.
Even when he struggled for pace in Silverstone, he still managed to bring home a podium finish. Despite having been disqualified from Qualifying in Monza, de Vries refused to let that hold him back – fighting through to achieved back-to-back third place finishes for the second time that season.
All his hard work came to a head at the penultimate round, with his fourth and final victory securing him the title with three races to go – a feat that he said felt “almost like revenge” for missing out the previous year.
MAKING HIS FP1 DEBUT
Since his success in F2, de Vries has gone to make a name for himself across the motorsport scene, including getting behind the wheel in endurance racing and becoming one of Mercedes reserve drivers in 2021. That same year saw him become the first Dutch single-seater World Champion, as he brought home the Formula E Drivers’ title.
Having previously tested for Mercedes as part of the Abu Dhabi young drivers’ test, this season saw him get his long-awaited maiden outing in F1 machinery on a Grand Prix weekend. Firstly, he hopped into the cockpit of the FW44 for Williams in Barcelona, before performing the same duties for Mercedes in Le Castellet.
Finishing 18th and ninth on those occasions, de Vries was praised for his pace and ability to understand and feedback about the car, two attributes that would prove crucial not long after...
AN UNEXPECTED F1 CALL-UP
Called up for his third FP1 appearance in Monza, this time with Aston Martin, de Vries’ could never have expected how his weekend would unfold...
After Williams’ Alex Albon was taken ill before FP3 with appendicitis, de Vries had a last-second call-up to replace his former F2 rival for final practice, Qualifying and Sunday’s race. Even though it was a track he knew well, having taken back-to-back podiums there in 2019, making his F1 debut at such short notice was an enormous test for the Dutch ace, but he rose to the occasion.
Securing a spot inside the top 10 on the grid, he put himself right in the thick of it and kept his cool as he duelled with his more experienced rivals. Keeping his wits about him, he adapted to the challenging circumstances to bring home ninth and match the team’s best result of the year – attracting plenty of attention up and down the paddock and putting him in the spotlight for a 2023 seat.