2023 F1 rookie report – De Vries nightmare and superstar born

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F1 welcomed three rookies to the grid for the current season to join single-seater racing’s elite.

McLaren picked up the services of Oscar Piastri from Alpine in a drawn-out contract dispute, with the Australian joining Lando Norris in place of Daniel Ricciardo.

Nyck de Vries made his long-awaited move into F1 with AlphaTauri alongside Yuki Tsunoda, whilst Logan Sargeant arrived at Williams to join Alex Albon.

With 12 races done and the summer break in full swing, RacingNews365 takes a look at how each has fared.

Oscar Piastri

Piastri arrived on the grid with plenty of plaudits in his pocket following a stunning junior formula career that saw three consecutive championship triumphs in a row capped off with the F2 title.

A year out as Alpine reserve has shown no sign of halting the Australian’s development, however, with a handful of impressive performances showing glimpses of his talent.

A slow start to the year for McLaren threatened to mask Piastri’s introduction – a retirement on lap 13 of the season opener was a bitter pill to swallow on his bow.

But since an upgrade was added to the MCL60, both the car and Piastri have come alive.

At the British Grand Prix, Piastri narrowly missed out on pole and settled for third behind teammate Norris and runaway championship leader Max Verstappen.

Strong pace in the race should have provided him with a first podium in his F1 career had it not been for an ill-timed Safety Car after he had made his pit stop – allowing Lewis Hamilton to jump into the top three with a free pit stop.

A repeat performance in Hungary saw Piastri again challenge the top three through the early stages, though tyre troubles put paid to any aspirations.

The Belgian Grand Prix’s Sprint Saturday was a statement to announce his arrival on the scene, however, as he pushed Verstappen for Shootout pole.

An early overtake from Piastri saw him lead for the first time, though after a Safety Car, he was powerless to resist the Dutchman’s attack and was forced to settle for second.

Contact with Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari at La Source at the start of the Grand Prix left Piastri entering the summer break on a sour note, but there is no doubt a future star has been found.

			© XPBimages
© XPBimages

Logan Sargeant

Sargeant’s form has been up and down in his opening 12 races of the season, though he has far from disgraced himself.

The American was fast-tracked into the second Williams seat in place of Nicholas Latifi this term and despite a number of errors early in the season, Sargeant’s pace has, on occasion, been up to scratch.

Perhaps unfortunately for him is that teammate Albon has been on such good form, but the lessons he can take forward from the former Red Bull driver – who turned Tsunoda’s career around when coaching the Japanese driver during his rookie season – will prove invaluable.

As for any rookie, Sargeant must get on top of the intricacies that come with the Pirelli tyres in F1. But when everything is pieced together, points shouldn’t be too far from his reach.

			© XPBimages
© XPBimages

Nyck de Vries

De Vries was finally handed his F1 shot with AlphaTauri but had it taken away almost as quickly after a miserable start to the year.

No points in the opening 10 races, a number of errors and a lack of performance in comparison to teammate Tsunoda left Red Bull’s hierarchy to make a switch.

Out went de Vries and in came Daniel Ricciardo to reignite his own career.

The problem for the Dutchman was that the issues he experienced were seemingly replicated from race to race, with no solution becoming apparent.

A number of spins in damp conditions during Spanish Grand Prix qualifying led to a despairing radio message that rather summed up de Vries’ short tenure in F1: “What am I doing wrong?”

Despite the struggles, there is no doubting de Vries’ ability as a racing driver – an F2 and Formula E champion already – so wherever he turns next will undoubtedly prove fruitful.

			© XPBimages
© XPBimages

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