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F1 French GP: De Vries replaces Hamilton in FP1 for Mercedes

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As part of the 2022 sporting regulations teams are obliged to run rookie drivers in two FP1 sessions across the season.

World champion outfit Mercedes will give its first FP1 slot of the year to its test and reserve driver De Vries, who will sample the team’s W13 at Paul Ricard on Friday.

In Mercedes’ preview on this weekend, team principal Toto Wolff said: “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.”

De Vries will therefore get his second grand prix weekend outing, after making his GP debut this year when he replaced Alex Albon at Williams during Spanish Grand Prix FP1.

The Dutchman also featured for Mercedes in the 2020 and 2021 Abu Dhabi Young Driver tests.

De Vries is the reigning Formula E champion, taking the title for Mercedes last year alongside fellow Mercedes reserve Stoffel Vandoorne.

The 27-year-old is currently placed eighth in this Formula E season’s driver standings. Previously, he took the FIA Formula 2 crown in 2019.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W13

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W13

Photo by: Alessio Morgese

Mercedes heads to France, the penultimate round before the summer break, on the back of a strong performance in the Austrian Grand Prix, in which Hamilton took a third consecutive podium ahead of teammate George Russell fourth.

It led to Red Bull’s Christian Horner tipping Mercedes to be in the mix at Le Castellet as well as they are “bringing themselves back into the game”.

After solving most of its dreaded bouncing issues, Wolff says the team is now building momentum after a “mammoth effort”.

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

“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.”

De Vries will be joined in FP1 by Polish veteran Robert Kubica, who takes over Valterri Bottas’ Alfa Romeo.

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