In a significant development, Mercedes’ reserve driver De Vries will be behind the wheels during the first practice race at French Grand Prix. As part of the 2022 sporting regulations, teams are obliged to run rookie drivers in two FP1 sessions across the seasons.
Mercedes will give its first FP1 of the year to its test and reserve driver De Vries, who will sample the team’s W13 at Paul Ricard on Friday. However, De Vries will make his second GP appearance this year as the first one came when he replaced Alex Albon at Williams during Spanish Grand Prix.
In Mercedes’ preview on this weekend, team principal Toto Wolff said Nick is replacing Lewis in first practice this weekend, as part of the allocated sessions for young driver this year. “We are looking forward to seeing how he gets on,” said Wolff.
De Vries is the reigning Formula E champion, clinching 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. De Vries will be joined in FP1 by Polish experienced driver Robert Kubica, who takes over Valterri Bottas’ Alfa Romeo.
Mercedes is heading to France on the back of impressive performance from Austrian Grand Prix, in which Hamilton took a third consecutive podium ahead of teammate George Russel, who finished fourth. Delighted with the team’s recent performance, team principle Toto Wolff said that 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. I am really please with the way things are heading and it reflects the mammoth effort of the team,” he said. Wolff further stated that Mercedes’ understanding of the W13 is growing with every lap and its encouraging to see that reflected in the results.