de Vries replaces Hamilton in French GP practice

Nyck de Vries

Lewis Hamilton will sit out of Free Practice 1 at this weekend’s Formula 1 French Grand Prix.

The seven-time champ will be side-lined as Nyck de Vries takes the wheel of his Mercedes W13 in Paul Ricard.

The Formula E world champion, and Mercedes reserve driver, steps in as part of new regulations introduced into F1 this season which mandate teams run a rookie driver in two practice sessions.

“Nyck is replacing Lewis in first practice this weekend, as part of the allocated sessions for young drivers this year. So, we’re looking forward to seeing how he gets on,” team boss Toto Wolff confirmed.

De Vries has been linked with a move into Formula 1 in the near future as Mercedes steps away from Formula E at the end of the current season.

It marks the Dutchman’s second FP1 outing of the season, having driven Alex Albon’s Williams at the Spanish Grand Prix in May.

Williams has a technical relationship with Mercedes, which includes the supply of power units, gearboxes, and the sharing of other data.

Mercedes has faced a comparatively tough start to 2022, with the all-conquering squad without a victory to its name from the opening 11 races of the current campaign.

It recent races its pace has improved, though it remains only the third best team behind Red Bull Racing and Ferrari.

“We scored three podiums in the first seven races, and we have now achieved four in the last four,” Wolff observed.

“I’m pleased with the momentum we are building, and it reflects the mammoth effort of the team.

“Our understanding of the W13 is growing with every lap and it’s encouraging to see that reflected in our development and results.

“While we were quicker in Austria, we still weren’t quick enough to challenge at the front.

“We need to keep chasing those final few tenths and bringing new developments to the cars, including this weekend in France.

“Paul Ricard is a very different track and challenge,” he added.

“It has smooth tarmac and a wide range of corner types, along with long straights.

“The aim will be to make further inroads on the gap to the front and hopefully be back on the podium.”

Opening practice for the Formula 1 French Grand Prix begins on Friday from 22:00 AEST.

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