Dutchman Nyck de Vries will replace Hamilton for the French GP in Free Practice 1 on Friday. In accordance with the new F1 regulations, Lewis Hamilton will be replaced by Nyck de Vries in the first free practice session of the French Grand Prix at the Paul Ricard circuit.
The current regulations require teams to run junior drivers in each of their cars at least once a season, enabling the reigning Formula E world champion to take Hamilton’s seat. De Vries is also a reserve driver for Mercedes and has already driven for Williams during the first free practice session at the Spanish Grand Prix. The Dutch driver impressed the British team’s engineers. After the session, Dave Robson, Williams’ Director of Performance, said that de Vries had the ability to be on the grid in Formula 1.
Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff said: “Nyck is replacing Lewis in the first test this weekend, as part of the young driver sessions this year. So we’re looking forward to seeing how he does.”
The Mercedes reserve driver will be in Lewis Hamilton’s car, which also means that George Russell will have to give up his seat to a rookie later in the season under the current regulations. It is possible that Nick de Vries will be called up again as Mercedes’ other reserve driver, Stoffel Vandoorne, can no longer be considered a junior driver, having already had two seasons of F1 experience.
Nyck is currently competing in Formula E with the Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team. De Vries won the 2020–21 Formula E World Championship and the 2019 FIA Formula 2 Championship, as well as the 2010 and 2011 Karting World Championships.
He was signed to the McLaren young driver programme from January 2010 until May 2019 and Audi Sport racing academy from October 2016 until August 2019.
De Vries has also dabbled in Indycar having taken part in an IndyCar test with Meyer Shank Racing at Sebring International Raceway on December 6, 2021. De Vries tested alongside his Formula E teammate Stoffel Vandoorne, who tested for Arrow McLaren SP, and Callum Ilott and Jack Aitken. Four time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves helped familiarize De Vries with the Dallara DW12. De Vries set the fastest times in the test amongst the four drivers.