The Dutchman replaces Alexander Albon and will start from eighth on the grid after getting on the FW44 in FP3 and beating teammate Nicholas Latifi in qualifying.
He qualified 13th, but moved up five places thanks to other drivers’ penalties.
De Vries, who contested FP1 with Aston Martin on Friday, was resting at the Paddock Club when Mercedes chief strategist James Vowles contacted him and told him there were doubts about Alex Albon’s fitness.
He immediately made his way to Williams and attended a pre-practice meeting before it was officially confirmed that Albon had appendicitis and would not be able to complete the remainder of the weekend.
“I was having coffee at the Paddock Club for an appearance and it was cool, it was first thing in the morning,” he said when asked by Motorsport.com how he heard about his opportunity.
“I was watching the F3 podium having a cappuccino. And then James Vowles gave me a touch, and I had to quickly go down to Mercedes, and everyone was quite happy. I tried to manage and calm the expectations a bit, saying that we still had to wait.”
“Then I took Williams down and unfortunately Alex was sick but I hope he’ll be back soon and make a quick recovery. And then during the FP3 briefing it became a bit clear that it was my duty to be in the car for that FP3 and the rest. of the weekend.”
“That all happened just an hour and a half before FP3, so there wasn’t much time to quickly get it into my head.”
Nyck de Vries, Williams FW44
De Vries, who serves as a reserve driver for Mercedes, Williams and Aston Martin Racing, admitted he never expected his role to lead to a racing opportunity.
“You spend so much time traveling and it never quite happens, so you almost lose the idea of expecting it to happen, and this obviously wasn’t even before Friday, it was on a Saturday, so it was very last minute.”
“But maybe it was even good, because then you don’t have a chance to think, and you just have to move on.”
De Vries exited Q1 in 15th place, despite losing his best time for going over track limits. He went on to claim 13th in Q2 after aborting his second run when he spun out at the second chicane after inadvertently hitting the brake balance switch.
“You only have two runs in FP3, because you have two sets of tyres, and you’re not going to do any long runs. So there’s no time to go slow, you have to push and learn fast to be ready for qualifying. And I think We’ve done a good job.”
“I think there was something else going on, especially in the last run of Q2 where I hit a brake balance switch that moved the brake balance a percentage rearward, and so I checked my rears going into Turn 4. , and I missed my lap.”
“But in the end, getting through to Q2 and being in the battle I think was a good job done in such a short amount of time.”
De Vries admitted that he enjoyed the fact that others’ penalties landed him in the top 10.
“Yeah, that makes me smile a little bit, even though I’m hard on myself and I think I should have done a better job. But it’s great.”
“I also want to make sure we do our homework on Saturday night and prepare and hopefully we can do our race, get a good start, have some good first laps, and then find a little bit of rhythm.”
“Obviously I have no idea because I haven’t done any long races. And then yes, maybe dreaming of scoring a point,” the former Formula E champion concluded.