F1 news: Nyck De Vries to replace Lewis Hamilton in French Grand Prix first practice

The Mercedes driver is preparing for this 300e The Grand Prix will start over the next weekend but will allow Formula E champion Nyck De Vries to drive the opening session.

Team principal Toto Wolff said: “Nyck replaces Lewis in the first test this weekend, as part of the young rider sessions this year, so we can’t wait to see how he fare. .”

De Vries, 27, joined Mercedes’ young driver program in 2010 and was named the Formula 1 team’s test and reserve driver last year alongside his Formula E drive.

It will be a second taste of a first F1 test session for De Vries this season after taking out Alex Albon’s Williams ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix in May.

Under an F1 regulation added this year, teams must use rookie drivers at least twice in first practice.

Mercedes head to Circuit Paul Ricard in search of more positive signs after a difficult season so far.

Hamilton took third and George Russell fourth last time out in Austria, and Wolff said he believed the team was overcoming the issues his car had suffered so far.

“We scored three podiums in the first seven races, and we’ve now achieved four in the last four,” he said. “I’m pleased with the momentum we’re building, and it reflects the colossal efforts of the team.

“Our understanding of the W13 is improving 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 fast enough to fight ahead. .”

“We have to keep chasing after those last tenths and bring new developments to the cars, including this weekend in France.”

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