Nyck de Vries gave the Dutch fans that flocked to Spa-Francorchamps something to cheer about on Saturday when the Pertamina Prema Theodore Racing driver took victory in the FIA Formula 2 championship Feature race.
The McLaren F1 Team junior driver says the race in Belgium is the closest thing he has to a home race, and despite the sea of orange there mainly to support Formula 1 ace Max Verstappen, he still received a good ovation from those fans when he stood on the podium.
De Vries felt he had strong pace throughout the race on Saturday, and despite an interruption from the safety car, he felt he was in control up until the chequered flag as he took his third victory of 2018.
“I’m obviously extremely happy, especially to do it here at my kind-of home race in front of so many Dutch fans, and my friends and family were all able to watch so it’s nice to perform well in front of them,” said de Vries in the post-race press conference on Saturday.
“We’ve been very strong and competitive all weekend so I think we deserved it. We never gave up and kept pushing, and it was very well deserved for the team and for me. It was a tough race, because we were very strong on the option but lost a bit of the gap after the pitstop.
“The safety car didn’t really help, but nevertheless we kept it all together and secured a second feature race win, so I’m very pleased with that.”
De Vries made a lightning start in the Sprint race on Sunday to jump from eighth on the grid to run as high as second place, but fading rear tyres saw him lose positions to both Lando Norris and Alexander Albon on the final lap, although he was able to keep Artem Markelov behind him.
“Maybe I’m a little bit disappointed with P4 today, because we were running good after a mega start and a great first couple of laps,” said the Dutchman. “Unfortunately, we were struggling a bit with our rears today.
“Nonetheless, I think this has been a very good weekend and we can look back to a lot of positives. We should take them away and improve further for Monza so we can keep fighting at the front and for two wins. Thank you to the team, everybody did a great job, all weekend.”