Formula E champion Nyck de Vries is set to take part in another Formula 1 free practice session with the Mercedes AMG F1 team in the second half of the 2022 season, this time alongside Lewis Hamilton.
The Dutchman took the wheel of Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes W13 in the first free practice session of the French Grand Prix last Friday in Le Castellet as part of the regulation-mandated testing of young drivers. De Vries – who drove in the Williams car at the Spanish Grand Prix in May – took part in his second free practice session of the year on Friday, this time with Mercedes.
Nyck de Vries was able to complete 23 laps in total and set the ninth fastest time in the first practice session, which gave him a lot of useful data for the team. After the session, Mercedes Performance Director Andrew Shovlin was full of praise for the young Dutchman: “Well, we’ve driven Nyck a few times before, not always publicly, like in Abu Dhabi for example, and I have to say we’ve always been impressed,” said Shovlin.
“The good thing is that he understands the priorities we have which are: don’t make mistakes, focus on the test programme and thirdly worry about being fast. He is able to do the first and second very easily and then a little bit of the third. So he was fast [in P1 in France] and very useful for the work we expected from him.”
“He always thinks: how can I improve more? What do I need to learn? But he’s a very, very accomplished driver, given his relatively limited experience in F1. So every time he’s been in the car for us, he’s impressed.”
With Lewis Hamilton having given up his seat to De Vries for P1 at the French GP, it is now team-mate George Russell’s turn to ‘lend’ his car to a young driver for a free practice session and, according to Shovlin, it should be De Vries again in the second half of the season: “At the moment, the logical candidate is for Nyck to drive. We are looking at later in the year.”
“It will depend on what we do in terms of upgrades, or we might do it during a Pirelli tyre test, but we are probably looking at the second half of the year.” concludes Shovlin.