Nyck de Vries was left exhausted after the F1 Italian GP where he scored points on debut after a hefty defence all-through the grand prix.

An appendicitis issue for Alexander Albon on Saturday morning allowed Mercedes reserve de Vries to make his F1 debut at Monza in F1 Italian GP. He qualified well in Q2 and started inside the Top 10, where he remained for most part of the race.

It wasn’t easy as he had track limits issues and also brake problems, but he worked the strategy well and defended hard apart from also pushing ahead to end up ninth in a fine show. His shoulders were done as he was helped by mechanics out of the car.

It was a surreal moment for de Vries who did all he could to impress the F1 teams. “The whole of the last 24 hours have just been a dream,” he recalled. “I didn’t really have much time to think because everything was so rushed. I had a very bad sleep, it went from excitement into nerves and I didn’t dare even look into my sleep tracking because basically I spent the whole night awake. But perhaps it helped me.

“I couldn’t think and I just had to get on with the job. My start wasn’t great but it was enough to maintain position, and I think it was key for me to get into a rhythm in the beginning and not lose position [because] then your tyres are dirty and you’re always on the back foot. That’s why I was really happy with our strategy and how we managed that.

“And actually the pace was really good, the car was great and we made a small adjustment from stint one to stint two. I asked a lot of help from the team to use the tools in the car to influence the balance. Again, I know that we had a little bit of help from outside with grid penalties and all that. But hey, no one take these points away from us,” summed up de Vries.

In his answer, the Dutchman alluded to issues at the start which was down to having zero experience in the car. That’s why he had a slow start but fortunately did not lose places. Post that, the heavy car proved a challenge to manage in terms of track limits.

“On Saturday, I did two starts,” said de Vries. “On Sunday morning, I couldn’t even do practice starts because I had to change gearbox. So, I had zero experience. And obviously the clutch lever was Nicki’s, and his hands are twice the size as mine. It was not made for me, so I definitely need more practice in being more accurate in hitting the target.

“In the beginning of the race I wasn’t really happy with the highspeed balance. And that kind of forced me always a bit wide. I struggled to turn the car, especially in the two Lesmos, and that was forcing me wide. So, with the kind of flap adjust for run two I felt like the balance was in a better window and that helped me to be cleaner and safer on track limits,” summed up de Vries.

The balance issues did cause him trouble on Saturday, but the team made some adjustments for Sunday which helped him. Also, the lapping moment from Max Verstappen also helped de Vries in his fight against Guanyu for track position.

“We made some adaptations on the switches and controls to make sure that if it did happen the impact would not be as drastic,” said de Vries. “So, we managed to get on top of that. The fight in the end, it was a bit of a yo-yo, because sometimes I closed the gap to Pierre in front of me and I had a bit of DRS. In one lap I attempted not a real attack, but put some pressure on. But it was a bit of a yo-yo effect.

“And once I had some free air I was able to maintain it, but he was fast and I’m happy it came our way,” summed up de Vries, who admitted that it was difficult to get out of the car due to pain in his shoulders. “I didn’t sweat much and the heartrate was low. But my arms, my shoulders are just tired,” he said.

Here’s Nyck de Vries on the radio:

Here’s news on complications around Alexander Albon