De Vries Hails Antonelli's Rising Star in F2 Arena

De Vries Hails Antonelli’s Rising Star in F2 Arena


Nyck de Vries, ex-Formula 1 driver, praises Andrea Kimi Antonelli’s remarkable performance in the Formula 2 championship, highlighting his potential.

Andrea Kimi Antonelli, a Mercedes junior driver, has not yet finished on the podium in Formula 2, but de Vries is impressed by his performance compared to Oliver Bearman who debuted in Formula 1 for Ferrari as Carlos Sainz’s replacement at Jeddah.

“Everyone’s talking about Ollie Bearman because he’s done a very good and solid job – but if you look at Ollie, he’s obviously already had a season in Formula 2. And if you look at all the tests in Bahrain during the first weekend, even if the team wasn’t performing, Kimi was always ahead.”

“Of course, when you go to a track like Jeddah, where you only have 30 minutes of free practice in F2 before qualifying, he was just two-tenths off Ollie while Kimi was discovering this very challenging track. So, I think he’s done a very solid job. And clearly, for now, Prema hasn’t really understood this new F1, so they’re not playing at the front. But I’m sure that Kimi is very special.”

De Vries, also a former Mercedes junior driver, said Antonelli “lives and breathes racing” and is well-prepared for his F1 debut.

“His father has a racing team. He’s been driving all sorts of cars since he was very young. When you meet him, when you talk to him, he’s a bright young man. He’s 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 Sainz’s replacement during the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix weekend.

“Really, he did an incredible job. He’s 18, didn’t have many free practice sessions, I mean just one session, and to do the job he did for Ferrari is very impressive.”

“I obviously had to do it much later in my career (for Williams, at Monza in 2022). But if I put myself back to when I was 18, I would never have been able to drive these ground-effect F1 cars straight away like that.”

Antonelli’s F1 Future: Preparation Peaks

Kimi Antonelli’s preparations for a potential future in Formula 1 are now in full swing.

Before Easter, we reported that Toto Wolff’s 17-year-old protege was set to drive a 2022 Mercedes F1 car at Imola for two days this weekend. The W13 is the German team’s first ground effect F1 car (see photo below).

No details have emerged from this closed-door test. And now, the young Italian will be in action at the Red Bull Ring on April 16, as part of a comprehensive F1 testing campaign throughout 2024.

Afterward, the German team will want to determine whether they can select him to replace Hamilton as early as 2025, or if they should wait a bit longer.

Antonelli will also drive on “various other European tracks” in the coming months.

De Vries Hails Antonelli’s Rising Star in F2 Arena. De Vries Hails Antonelli’s Rising Star in F2 Arena

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