At the end of 2017, Nyck de Vries was close to quitting his single-seater career, but now he's a Formula 2 champion and driving for one of motorsport’s biggest names in Mercedes in Formula E. It’s been a long journey for de Vries.
Jumping between teams in his debut F2 year didn’t help, and a deal with Prema for 2018 promised much but only delivered too heavy a weight on winning races, and their title push fell apart. A switch to ART Grand Prix for this season gave him the car that won the title in 2018 with George Russell, and a new mindset served the Dutchman well as he finally got his hands on machinery that could win the title.
“Strangely winning comes naturally when you’re in that flow and you build yourself into a championship,” de Vries tells Autosport. “The people around you start to trust you, there’s more calmness and then suddenly things start to come your way.
“The experience I gathered over the years made me confident and calm enough, plus the support of the team, which was all on the same page and approach, to stay calm and focus on ourselves and build it as we went along and I think that was crucial.
“I’m very honest and open about myself. I think I had a good realistic read on what had happened in the past. Before coming to Abu Dhabi last year I had already met with ART and had deep and long discussions about everything that had happened.”
De Vries ripped off four wins, eight podiums and five pole positions on his way to the F2 title, sealed one round early at Sochi. After that, he went straight to Fuji as part of his LMP2 commitments, then to Riyadh for his Formula E debut - where he impressed.
A disappointing end to his F2 season with a pair of 13ths left a lot to be desired, but nothing can take away from his dominant year, in which he also tested Toyota’s LMP1 challenger to add to his growing CV.