The pair first got here throughout one another in karting, though they had been in several classes, because the older de Vries moved up the ranks first.
De Vries was in talks with a number of F1 groups a couple of 2022 drive when his look as substitute for Albon at Williams within the Italian GP propelled him to the highest of the listing as a possible substitute for Pierre Gasly at AlphaTauri.
“Out of the karting boys Nyck was the one one who hadn’t made it to F1 who most likely deserved to make it to F1,” mentioned Russell when requested by Autosport concerning the Dutchman’s commencement.
“So these 5 drivers, between myself, Alex, Max [Verstappen], Charles [Leclerc] and Nyck, who had been in that interval racing in opposition to one another in ’11 and ’12, as I mentioned, Nyck was the one one who didn’t make it, so glad to see him there.”
Requested if he rated him larger after they labored collectively at Mercedes, Russell mentioned: “I’ve at all times rated him. In go-karting, he was the person to beat. I by no means raced him in go-karting, however out of all of us, he was most likely essentially the most profitable one in go-karting.
“I’ve by no means not rated him. I feel to get to F1, you must do the job on the proper time when there is a chance on the grid, and generally these stars don’t align.
“However with the quantity of stars that aligned in Monza it most likely made up for the unfortunateness of some years in the past.”
Nyck de Vries, Williams FW44, Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo C42, Carlos Sainz, Ferrari F1-75
Photograph by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images
De Vries will probably be 28 firstly of subsequent season, and Russell admitted that he’s intrigued to see how he’ll carry out after gaining a lot expertise in different classes.
“Undoubtedly intrigued to see how he’ll get on,” mentioned Russell. “I’ve bought little doubt that he’ll carry out effectively. He’s bought all the chances to be an incredible F1 driver. I’m positive he’ll do nice.”
Former F2 rival Norris agreed that De Vries deserves his probability.
“He is clearly an excellent driver,” mentioned the McLaren man when requested about de Vries’s commencement by Autosport.
“I feel he is proved that because the very starting in karting. He fully dominated a variety of the karting stuff, he is Components E world champion, and lots of issues. So he is a prime driver.
“Clearly he deserves it, he did job in Monza when he sat in. He is proved his value, and we’ll see subsequent yr what he can do.”