Nyck de Vries praised Max Verstappen’s role as the big brother who landed his Dutch compatriot a place in Formula One.
The 27-year-old was announced ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix as the driver for AlphaTauri from next season, having driven as a reserve driver for Williams earlier this year.
Now firmly in place, replacing Alpine-bound Pierre Gasly, de Vries as he has achieved his goal of reaching Formula 1.
He credited compatriot and close friend Verstappen with helping him break through after previously winning titles in Formula 2 and Formula E.
“Max and I have a great relationship,” he said.
“Obviously we’re from a similar era, he’s a bit younger than me, but we grew up in karting, we’re both Dutch and the way he approached racing with his dad and in a van around Europe rode, I think was very similar to ours.
“We live for the sport and we respect each other a lot as riders despite being world champion and the best in our sport at the moment.
“Even though he’s a bit younger it almost felt like he was acting like my older brother, we had dinner together in Monaco after the Monza event and talked about the possibilities and opportunities.
“This resulted in a conversation with Dr. Helmut Marco (Red Bull Motorsport Advisor), we met in Austria the same week.
“I’ve always listened to the people around me and knowledge is very important in this industry and I think sometimes you see people who take this very seriously.
“But if you don’t give, you don’t get anything, and it’s important to share information to know what’s going on. and that was just that kind of conversation.”
De Vries showed his racing pedigree karting alongside the likes of George Russell, Carlos Sainz, Alex Albon and Gasly.
But while his peers were already getting their F1 grade, de Vries took a different route – admitting he felt his chance had passed him by.
“I admit that there were certain times in my career when I felt it was very unlikely that I would get another chance (in Formula 1),” he said.
“Especially when I won Formula 2 and moved in a different direction in Formula E.
“It wasn’t a common path to Formula 1, but somehow I always kept my foot in the door and I think what really defines my career is that I’ve always taken every opportunity that was and was given to me Path.”
Now, however, de Vries can draw on his past experience and believes he will be better prepared to enter Formula 1 than if he had landed a spot as a younger driver.
“Of course I’m still missing a bit of Formula 1 experience,” he added.
“There are quite a few tracks on the calendar that are still unknown to me, but I’ve gained a lot in terms of maturity and overall racing experience.
“All the races I have driven in recent years, in endurance racing and in Formula E, have given me the best possible preparation in every area.
“In every other sport you practice your sport every day, in racing you don’t. It’s pretty limited so I’ve always been in the favor of racing and I think that definitely prepared me as much as possible for what’s to come.”
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/max-verstappen-pierre-gasly-williams-dutch-europe-b2198732.html Nyck de Vries hails Max Verstappen’s big brother’s role in landing the F1 seat