Formula 1 Racing

“Very special” Antonelli impresses de Vries

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In the round-up: Former Formula 1 driver Nyck de Vries has been impressed by Andrea Kimi Antonelli’s performance in Formula 2, a championship he won in 2019.

In brief

Antonelli “very special” – de Vries

Much-hyped Mercedes junior driver Andrea Kimi Antonelli hasn’t finished on the podium yet in Formula 2 but de Vries is impressed by how well he has compared to Oliver Bearman who made his Formula 1 debut for Ferrari as a substitute earlier this month.

“Everyone is talking about Ollie Bearman, because he did a very good, solid job – but if you look at Ollie, he did obviously a season in Formula 2, if you look at all the testing in Bahrain in the first weekend Bahrain, even though the team was not necessarily performing, Kimi was always ahead of Ollie,” de Vries told Pelas Pistas.

“Of course, when you go to a track like Jeddah when you have 30 minutes free practice in F2 and then go into quali, he was only two-tenths off. So I think he did a very solid job. And clearly at the moment Prema hasn’t really figured it out yet so they are not performing. But I am very sure Kimi is very special.”

De Vries, also a former Mercedes junior driver, said Antonelli “lives and breathes racing” and is well-prepared for an F1 debut. “His father has a racing team. He has been driving all sorts of cars since a very young age. When you meet him, when you talk to him, he is a bright kid. He is sharp. He knows everything about racing.”

Having made his F1 debut as a substitute in 2022, de Vries was also impressed by Bearman’s performance as a stand-in for Sainz during the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix weekend. “I really think he did an amazing job,” he said. “He’s 18 years old, to turn up, you have no free practice, I mean one session, and to do the job he did to me is very impressive.

“I obviously did it in a much later point in my career. But also if I put myself back into my shoes when I was 18, I mean I looked like 12, I would have never been able to drive the thing.”

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