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Street sleepers, NBA winks and hunger for F1 - Nyck De Vries' special journey

Street sleepers, NBA winks and hunger for F1 - Nyck De Vries' special journey

F1 News

Street sleepers, NBA winks and hunger for F1 - Nyck De Vries' special journey

Street sleepers, NBA winks and hunger for F1 - Nyck De Vries' special journey

Three rookie drivers will take to the grid for the 2023 Formula 1 season, with Oscar Piastri and Logan Sargeant 21 and 22 years old respectively.

Nyck de Vries took a longer journey to F1, and at 28 is a lot older than most normal rookie drivers.

De Vries attended his first F1 car launch as AlphaTauri unveiled the AT04 and revealed that the experience was a strange one.

Ahead of the event he attended an NBA game between the Brooklyn Nets and Chicago Bulls where he was noticed by basketball player Nikola Vucevic: "That player grew up in Belgium and apparently he recognised me because he winked and waved. He also came to shake my hand at the end of the game. So cool to experience."

AlphaTauri superfans

The launch of the AT04 was a hugely sought-after event and some eager fans even decided to sleep outside the venue to get admission.

"Six men had slept in a box in front of the door," De Vries told the AD. "They knew we were going to give away tickets for our car presentation. Well, they earned them, and rightly so. I just felt guilty, I just got out of a warm bed myself."

That kind of fandom is new for De Vries, who raced in Formula 2 and Formula E before being handed his F1 debut last year as a replacement for Alex Albon when the Williams driver was ill at the Italian Grand Prix.

READ MORE: AlphaTauri in bizarre AT04 reveal

The Italian GP gave him a taste of F1 life, but now he is fully immersed in Formula 1 and all that entails.

"You really feel the level of importance," De Vries admitted. "That Formula 1 is much bigger. People lying down in front of a store, things like that. Your world changes a bit, but as soon as we get back on the track, this is all gone. You should always keep that in mind.

"This is all great fun, but if you lose yourself in the craziness, you can lose focus on the racing a bit.

"Now in 2023, I'm on the grid and not in an arrogant way, but I'm part of it now. There is now a new chapter in my story."

READ MORE: Who is Oscar Piastri?

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