De Vries explains his “very silly” Baku crash and a “tough to swallow” start to the season

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Nyck de Vries had a torrid weekend at the 2023 Azerbaijan GP, as he crashed out of Sunday’s grand prix after touching the wall on the inside of turn five. The Dutchman admitted it was “fully” his mistake, with “nobody else to blame”.

Photo Credit: Scuderia AlphaTauri

The AlphaTauri driver started on the hard compound tyres and was battling for 11th place with Zhou Guanyu when he clipped the wall on the inside of turn five on lap 10, heavily damaging his front-left tyre and suspension and bringing out the only Safety Car of the grand prix.

Baku wasn’t the smoothest weekend for de Vries. He heavily shunted his AT04 against the barriers at turn three on his opening flying lap in Q1 on Friday, spun on his way to P20 on the Sprint Shootout and also had contact with his team-mate Yuki Tsunoda on the opening lap of the Sprint, which sent the Japanese driver into the barriers later on due to the damage.

Speaking after the race, de Vries admitted his race-ending crash was “fully” his mistake, explaining how the peculiar characteristics of turn five caught him out with his car positioning in that particular lap:

“[It was] fully my mistake and my responsibility, very silly and unnecessary, and that’s all I can say about it,” the Dutchman admitted. “Only thing I can do now is move on and look to the next, and thankfully there’s another race next weekend, and we’ll have to look ahead to what’s coming.

“It’s kind of an awkward corner because the wall kind of comes towards you, and I was just a bit too close. It’s a mistake fully on me, nothing else or nobody else to blame, and I made it, that’s it.”

Sitting in last place at drivers’ championship and one of only two drivers – along with Logan Sargeant – not to score a point in 2023 so far, de Vries said that there are “positives” to take away from this early part of the season, saying the potential pace wasn’t rewarded with the adequate results, making it “tough to swallow”:

“I think there is still a lot of – not a lot – but let’s say there is positivity to take away from certain moments, and I think we’ve shown, since Jeddah, speed at given moments. But for a lot of reasons and circumstances we haven’t been able to turn it into a concrete finishing result, and that is very tough to swallow.

“Of course that’s hard, but the only way forward is to continue to look ahead, just follow the process and I personally believe things will turn around.

“I think generally [over] the weekend [the car] was competitive. We started very strongly in practice and since then it was kind of going south. But I think yesterday’s [Sprint] race was encouraging as well.

“In these situations, you try and grab the little positives you can grab.”