The Dutchman was drafted in for an unexpected F1 debut at Monza as a stand-in for Alex Albon on Saturday morning after the Williams regular was ruled out of the weekend with appendicitis. 

Mercedes reserve driver de Vries, who had made his third FP1 outing of the season with Aston Martin on Friday, progressed to Q2 and qualified an impressive 13th, ahead of teammate Nicholas Latifi in his first qualifying session.

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A mistake at Turn 4 cost de Vries the chance to potentially qualify higher, though he is set to be promoted into the top 10 due to a host of drivers ahead of him carrying grid penalties into Sunday’s grand prix. 

The 2020-2021 Formula E champion revealed the cause of his error after qualifying.  

“Actually, how I lost my last run in Q2, it was actually Nicholas’ wheel because that is closer, but I was used to Alex’s switches and I accidentally hit something,” he explained. 

“Therefore the brake balance moved one percent rearwards, and that’s why I locked up the rears going into Turn 4. These mistakes weren’t great. 

"On the first run of Q2 we made a small change, we were also in traffic, the tyre temps were a bit low. Not everything quite together but I think it was not bad after all.” 

De Vries said he was making an appearance in the F1 Paddock Club when he got the call from Mercedes, just an hour and a half before final practice was due to start. 

“I was literally drinking some cappuccino and chilling and waiting and then obviously I received the call for Mercedes, which asked me to come down ASAP,” he said. “I was then forwarded to Williams, so exciting times. 

“Obviously I feel very sorry for Alex and I hope he is okay and wishing him a speedy recovery. But for me, it is obviously a very unique opportunity, very last-minute, only one and a half hours prior to FP3. 

“There is such a limited time to get ready, you only have two sets in FP3 to get ready. Hence why I’m not entirely satisfied because I think our session was not as smooth as I would have liked and we made some mistakes. 

“It wasn’t perfect but nevertheless I think I can be quite satisfied with what we did.” 

De Vries’ commendable performance would have done his chances of landing a 2023 seat - potentially with Williams - no harm, though the 27-year-old stressed he did not have time to think about strengthening his case for an F1 drive. 

“I try not to think too much about the opportunity,” de Vries said. “Honestly with so little time, there is not much time to think anyway. 

“My stomach did feel a bit weird, of course I was nervous and a little bit stressed. But ultimately my own pressure is beyond anything. 

“That’s one of the reasons why I’m not entirely satisfied. But I also try to enjoy the moment. To be starting top 10, is just great.”