FIA Formula 2 championship leader Nyck de Vries felt he didn’t deserve the podium finish in the sprint race at Monza.
The Dutchman rounded off the Italian round with two podium finishes, both third places to extend his points lead in the drivers’ championship.
de Vries’ weekend started off with a challenge has he was disqualified from qualifying and had to start the race from last place. But performed strongly in the feature race to get a podium and continue his points scoring as his title rivals slip. de Vries’s deficit to second place Nicholas Latifi is now 59 points with a possible 96 left to claim.
The ART Grand Prix‘s sprint race was mixed as he made a mistake at Turn 1, going onto the grass and nearly losing control of his car. Fortunately for de Vries, as he was set for a fourth-place finish, de Vries was promoted to third on the final lap after Callum Ilott suffered an unfortunate lock-up and spin, replicating a similar error to de Vries.
In the Formula 2 press conference, de Vries felt happy to be on the podium but admits that he didn’t deserve a spot on the rostrum after making mistakes over the course of the race.
“I don’t want to be too negative or pessimistic at the moment. Of course we are happy to be back on the podium. I think at the end of the day we probably, even though I made a mistake, made fewer mistakes than others out there today,” said de Vries
“I do feel that personally I don’t really deserve to be here today. Nevertheless, that’s racing and it came our way today. I think it was similar to what happened to Callum. The grip level is quite low, we run low downforce and you’re in DRS. The thing is when you’re behind someone you brake so much earlier than you actually want to brake. Obviously you’re trying to push and you want to get closer to your own braking points. I instantly locked up and there were cars in front of me so there was nowhere to go other than the grass.
“I was lucky to save it and I had a huge flat spot. A huge one! I was really struggling the last couple of laps but luckily it kind of recovered a little bit and I put some temperature back in in the last two laps. The pace was good enough to stay within the five seconds.
“I think the team deserve this. We came from a long way back after Friday night and brought back home some good points.”
de Vries was involved in an incident with Luca Ghiotto and Sérgio Sette Câmara at the beginning of the race at the opening chicane. de Vries was hit by Ghiotto, but escaped the incident without damage whilst the pair suffered, scoring no points. Latifi scored no points over the weekend as his weekend took a hit in an incident with Guanyu Zhou in the feature race.
de Vries soon caught the leading pack, a train led by Jack Aitken, who during the race was weaving to cut the tow from the following cars behind. The Dutchman, who was in the middle of the train, said the tow was annoying as it formed the train and a few incidents on track.
“The annoying thing about the Sunday race is that it becomes a train. That’s why you see a few incidents in Turn 1 because everyone feels like they want to make a move but it’s not really possible.
“There are cars in front and you can’t really attack the brakes, so it becomes a bit of a train and then you get a bit frustrated. You get impatient and you want to make up positions but I think Monza has given some very exciting races, both yesterday and today.
“I think it was good to watch.”