Formula 1

Jüri Vips, Nyck de Vries Reflect on Maiden Practice Outings in Barcelona

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Credit: Mark Thompson/Getty Images

The opening free practice session of the Spanish Grand Prix weekend saw two new faces join the FIA Formula 1 World Championship fray, with Jüri Vips and Nyck de Vries getting their maiden outings on Friday.

FIA Formula 2 frontrunner Vips was running with Oracle Red Bull Racing in place of regular driver Sergio Pérez, and although he finished at the bottom of the timing screens, it was clear that he was not looking for outright pace and was consolidating and checking his simulator work correlated with what was seen on track.

The Estonian felt the whole experience of running in an official practice session on a Grand Prix weekend was amazing, and although it was a busy session of running, he was pleased with the job he did and the knowledge he learned.

“My experience today was amazing,” said Vips. “Just to drive on the Grand Prix weekend is an incredible moment. When it first got announced I just kept thinking about when I first started karting and it was just a hobby and now I am going to get in the car.

“It was a busy session, we did lots of aero mapping so we never planned to do any push laps. I can see why F1 is so hard because these sessions are very hectic!

“You learn a lot driving, as a junior driver travelling to races with the Team you get to hear the drivers’ feedback but to feel first hand how the car feels is useful for me but also useful for the work I do on the simulator.”

“I will admit I was very nervous ahead of FP1!” – Nyck de Vries

Reigning ABB FIA Formula E World Champion de Vries took over Alexander Albon’s seat at Williams Racing for the opening session in Spain, and the Dutchman admitted he was nervous heading into his maiden practice session.

However, once the visor was down and he was on track, the nerves disappeared and he was able to focus on doing the best job possible, and he ended a respectable eighteenth quickest, ahead of regular driver Nicholas Latifi.

“I will admit I was very nervous ahead of FP1!” said de Vries. “I’m racing and fighting for championships away from F1, but making your Formula 1 debut is very unique and special, so I am very grateful for the opportunity.

“But when you get into the car and start the engine you forget everything around you and you’re alone with the car; all those nerves go away and you focus on your job. It wasn’t easy to jump in not knowing the car or the tyres and everything was new, but I gave myself the time to adapt and I’m pretty satisfied with my performance.

“I’m always critical of myself so I think there was more on the table, but I’m happy and positive about my first experience with Williams.”

Formula E champion Nyck de Vries drove for Williams in first practice in Spain – Credit: Williams Racing
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Thirty-something motorsport fanatic, covering Formula 1, Formula Renault 2.0 and Formula 3. Feel free to give him a follow on Twitter at @Paul11MSport.
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