George Russell says Nyck de Vries was “the man to beat” in go-karting

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George Russell says “out of the karting boys Nyck was the only one who hadn’t made it to F1 who probably deserved to make it to F1”.

George Russell, Alex Albon, Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc and Nyck de Vries all competed against each other in junior categories, but de Vries is the only one who is yet to enter Formula 1 full-time.

Thankfully, after an amazing performance at the 2022 Italian Grand Prix, AlphaTauri decided to sign Nyck and he will drive for the team in 2023.

George Russell says this opportunity was a long time coming.

“Out of the karting boys Nyck was the only one who hadn’t made it to F1 who probably deserved to make it to F1,” Russell said.

“So those five drivers, between myself, Alex, Max [Verstappen], Charles [Leclerc] and Nyck, who were in that period racing against each other in ’11 and ’12, as I said, Nyck was the only one who didn’t make it, so happy to see him there.”

De Vries has also served as Mercedes’ reserve driver for the past two years, so Russell was asked if he is rating the Dutchman higher after having the opportunity to work together.


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“I’ve always rated him,” the Briton said.

“In go-karting, he was the man to beat. I never raced him in go-karting, but out of all of us, he was probably the most successful one in go-karting.

“I’ve never not rated him. I think to get to F1, you need to do the job at the right time when there is an opportunity on the grid, and sometimes those stars don’t align.

“But with the amount of stars that aligned in Monza it probably made up for the unfortunateness of a few years ago.”

George then said he is very interested to see how de Vries will perform next year.

“Definitely intrigued to see how he’ll get on. I’ve got no doubt that he’ll perform well. He’s got all the possibilities to be a great F1 driver.

“I’m sure he’ll do great,” Russell concluded.

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