Max Verstappen has backed Nyck de Vries to succeed at AlphaTauri, ahead of the 2023 F1 season which will see two full-time Dutch drivers on the grid for the first time ever.
De Vries partners Yuki Tsunoda at AlphaTauri, who’s five years younger than the Dutchman but has completed nearly 50 F1 races.
It remains to be seen which one will prevail in 2023 but Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko said De Vries could already be leading the team on a technical given his much wider racing experience.
“In a way, I do understand that,” Max Verstappen told Motorsport.com. “Nyck is a bit older anyway and has gained a lot of experience in other championships.
“He knows perfectly how to handle a race car, Nyck also feels the car pretty well and that is exactly what AlphaTauri needs. They lose Pierre [Gasly] there, of course, and because of that they need someone with experience in general again.
“Someone who can get in the car and hopefully lead them in the right direction early on.”
De Vries took F1 opportunity
De Vries was promoted after a stunning weekend driving for Williams at the 2022 Italian Grand Prix – though that race has landed him in hot water legally.
Stepping in for Alex Albon, who had appendicitis, De Vries reached Q2 ahead of teammate Nicholas Latifi and went one better the next day finishing ninth.
After being the nearly man in F1 transfer rumours for so long, replacing the outgoing Gasly at AlphaTauri.
“I knew a while before the announcement in Japan that the news was coming,” Verstappen added. “It’s obviously a wonderful opportunity for him, he has worked for this for a very long time and then it’s only nice that the opportunity has come along now.
“After Monza, I think there was no discussion at all. And I must also say: Helmut is the kind of man who puts you in the car if he likes something, whereas other teams are often more cautious.
“But that is also the great thing about Red Bull. Anyway, I know Nyck very well, so this is only nice.”