Nyck de Vries has admitted he is unsure how much support he will get from Dutch fans in his F1 debut season, given that “the whole country is behind” world champion Max Verstappen.
De Vries will race for AlphaTauri this season, having been signed as a replacement for Pierre Gasly. Gasly joined Alpine, replacing Fernando Alonso following his move to Aston Martin following Sebastian Vettel’s retirement.
De Vries made his F1 debut last season, replacing Williams driver Alex Albon at the Italian Grand Prix after being ruled out with appendicitis. He impressed, qualifying 13th, ahead of fellow Williams driver Nicholas Latifi, then scored points with a ninth-place finish in the race.
The 28-year-old is excited to become the second Dutch driver on the grid alongside two-time world champion Verstappen. Speaking at the unveiling of the new AlphaTaruri car, De Vries was asked if he expected to share the support of the Dutch F1 fans with Verstappen.
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He replied, “Time will tell.” “Max has obviously done incredibly well in Formula 1. He is dominating our sport at the moment and rightfully so, the whole country is behind him and the Dutch are very excited about Formula 1.
“I am starting my journey in Formula 1 and while Max will continue to fight for championships, I will try to make my mark in my path as well. Apart from that, I don’t know how much support it will be divided between us. Of course the fans are behind Max and they now have a second Dutch driver to cheer for him !
And De Vries is “very excited and motivated” ahead of his first season with AlphaTauri, where he will partner Japanese driver Yuki Tsunoda. When asked what he is most looking forward to this year, he said: “First and foremost, to get the chance to live my dream, but equally to be very excited and motivated to perform and execute.
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“I think it’s partly because my ride has been a little more unusual and longer, I’m more grateful for the opportunity, more motivated to grab it and hungrier to show what I’m worth. I’d say I’m still a rookie. Of course, I had the privilege of driving Lots of different cars, but I think the benefits of that don’t come down to track time, because it was actually very limited.
“I think having experience working with different teams in different environments will bring a lot of value, but in terms of pure track and race time I think I have less than other rookies this year. However, I am a bit older and I have had the opportunity to race in Different leagues, and that level of experience brings some value.”
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