Williams substitute driver Nyck De Vries says he “spent the whole night awake” ahead of finishing ninth in his debut Formula 1 race at the Italian Grand Prix.
The Dutch driver was drafted in at Williams as a replacement for Alex Albon on Saturday morning who is suffering from appendicitis, and qualified a respectable 13th on merit.
He was subsequently promoted to eighth after grid penalties for others, and drove a strong race to finish in ninth place.
His two points were briefly threatened by a stewards investigation into “erratic” driving behind the late Safety Car, but was only given a reprimand as punishment.
De Vries did not sleep
“The whole of the last 24 hours have just been a dream,” the 2020/21 Formula E champion explained to media including RacingNews365.com.
“I didn’t really have much time to think, because everything was so rushed (he only received the Williams call on Saturday morning while having a coffee in the Mercedes hospitality).
“I had a very bad sleep, it went from excitement into nerves and I didn’t even dare to look at my sleep tracking because basically I spent the whole night awake!
“Perhaps it helped me, [as] I couldn’t think and I just had to get on with the job.
“My start wasn’t great, but good enough to maintain position – and I think it was key for me to get into a rhythm in the beginning and to not lose position.
“I was really happy with our strategy and how we managed that, the pace was really good and the car was great.
“I asked a lot of help from the team how to deal with the tools in the car to influence the balance.
“I know that we had a little bit of help from outside with grid penalties and retirements, but hey, no one [can] take these points away from us.”
Emotional scenes with his father
Having finally made his F1 debut, De Vries also spoke about how he and his father acted on race day morning.
“When I saw him, I just gave him a kiss and I walked away,” he said.
“Because I knew that if we would spend more time together, we would both start crying, because we are hard to each other.
“But when it comes to this, we’re both very emotional, and I am just thankful that he was able to witness this.”