Dutch driver Nyck de Vries performed astonishingly well upon his Formula 1 debut… But the difficulties he had getting out of his car after the race show how physically fit F1 drivers have to be.
The 27-year-old Dutchman, who found himself filling in for a sick Alex Albon at Williams for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza last weekend, put in an awe-inspiring first F1 drive – outqualifying his teammate Nicholas Latifi and finishing the race in 9th, scoring points on his F1 debut.
That’s no mean feat, especially as he’d only ever driven a Williams car for a single hour earlier in the year, and had barely any F1 car experience on top of that… Which might be a bit embarrassing for Latifi (and even Albon).
Yet it wasn’t all plain sailing for de Vries. After pulling up in parc ferme, the young gun was so exhausted he needed help getting out of his car.
“Can someone help me… I can literally not even lift my arms anymore,” de Vries was caught saying over the radio to his garage. Thankfully, someone did come and help him out. AlphaTauri driver Pierre Gasly even came over to check on him.
WATCH Nyck de Vries after the 2022 Italian Grand Prix below.
Driving an F1 car is physically draining. The insane speed and braking power of F1 cars subject drivers to enormous g-forces – around 5 g while braking, 2 g while accelerating, and between 4 to 6 g while cornering. Drivers can lose as much as 3kg per race, and you need to be incredibly fit to be able to muscle an F1 car around corners and stamp on the brakes.
It’s no surprise, then, that an F1 rookie like de Vries was so shattered after the race – which makes his performance on debut even more impressive.
De Vries isn’t alone in this regard either. Haas driver Kevin Magnussen, who missed a year of F1 in 2021 only to return to Haas this year, also complained about how sore his neck was after the first race of the year, the Bahrain Grand Prix. It also didn’t hamper his performance, the Dane scoring points upon his F1 return too.
De Vries has had a particularly wild weekend. He actually took part in first practice with Aston Martin, taking Sebastian Vettel’s seat, before he was whisked out of the Aston garage to fill in for Albon at Williams after the latter developed appendicitis.
That makes him only the second F1 driver to race for two different teams on the same weekend – the other being Austrian driver Harald Ertl in 1978, who failed to either pre-qualify or qualify.
It’s just a shame that de Vries, who won the F2 title in 2019 and the Formula E title in 2020-21, doesn’t already have an F1 seat. Fans were mad that Oscar Piastri had been sitting on the sidelines for 2022 – de Vries has been on the sidelines even longer.
That said, there’s a good chance that de Vries will end up taking Latifi’s seat at Williams next year, especially considering his super performance over the weekend. Fingers crossed this talented young driver gets a chance in F1 soon… Although he might have to hit the gym to build up a bit more upper body strength…