With Alex Albon out of the Italian Grand Prix due to appendicitis, Nyck de Vries stepped up to make his F1 debut, and will start his first race for Williams in P8.
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance
‘Firstly, we send our best wishes to Alex and wish him a quick recovery. Secondly, we welcome Nyck to the team for his Formula One race debut.
The team reacted very well to the news this morning that Nyck would drive for the rest of the weekend. We were able to prepare the car for him quickly and adapt the FP3 run programme to give him some productive track time. He reacted to the challenge expertly, helped by his running on Friday and his experience of the FW44 in Barcelona. He inherited Alex’s setup and was immediately happy, requiring only a change to the front wing flap angle to adapt the car to his style.
Qualifying in Monza is usually tricky as drivers look to balance tyre preparation and track position. Today was no exception but we got both drivers into reasonable positions in Q1. However, both struggled a little bit with braking in a tow. Nicky had to abandon his final effort in Q1 and Nyck lost some time in Sector 1 but was able to recover and set a good laptime. Although this laptime was deleted for leaving the track, his earlier lap was good enough to progress to Q2.
Nyck did an excellent job today and although he was frustrated not to put the final lap in Q2 together, he still starts inside the top 10 tomorrow. We have a lot to review with him to prepare him for tomorrow but we’re confident that both he and Nicky can have strong races tomorrow.’
Nyck de Vries
‘First, I just want to say I feel bad for Alex and hope that his health and recovery will be quick. Nevertheless, it was a great opportunity for myself, however it’s challenging to just jump in like that. Overall, I’m happy with how it went but definitely feel there was more in it. Unfortunately, I picked up a lot of rear locking in my lap, but generally it was a positive session. With the grid penalties, it’s positive to be starting further up the grid – I have some homework to do tonight but it’s great to get the call up.’
‘Firstly, I’m wishing Alex a quick recovery and hope to see him back soon. I locked up into the first corner and didn’t get a lap on my second set of tyres. It’s frustrating but I’m where I expected to be as a result. It’s one of the trickiest corners for our car. Looking ahead to tomorrow, we’re quick in a straight line but we’ll lose time gained in the corners, so it’s going to be about how that balances out. We’ll be starting further forward due to a few penalties, so we’ll see what happens.’