Mercedes’ ‘insurance policy’ on Lewis Hamilton quitting F1 explained
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Lewis Hamilton still has one year remaining on his Mercedes contract after this season, but Nyck de Vries has been named as Toto Wolff’s “insurance policy” should the 37-year-old quit F1. Express Sport takes a look at De Vries and goes into more detail about the driver.
Who is Nyck de Vries?
At 27 years of age, De Vries already has bags of experience in the world of motorsport. The Dutch racer began his career like many other F1 drivers in karting before making the switch to single-seater racing in 2012 to race in the Formula Renault Eurocup.
He quickly rose through the rankings before stepping into the F2 Championship with Rapax in 2017, finishing as the second-highest rookie that year. The 2018 campaign saw De Vries make the step up as he competed for the championship, only missing out to Alex Albon and Lando Norris.
His third and final year in F2 finally resulted in a championship with many tipping him for a seat in F1 for the 2020 campaign. But Nicholas Latifi, who finished runner-up to De Vries in the 2019 F2 Championship, was chosen for a seat at Williams instead as the Dutchman made the move into Formula E.
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De Vries went on to win the Formula E Championship in just his second season and that resulted in him earning a spot as one of Mercedes’ reserve drivers in F1. And the 27-year-old made his F1 practice debut last month at the Spanish Grand Prix as he took Alex Albon’s seat in FP1.
De Vries had been strongly linked with a seat at Williams to replace George Russell for this season, but Albon was eventually chosen given his experience. Speculation has picked up again in recent weeks about De Vries making the step up to F1 for next season following his run with Williams a few weeks ago.
But the Dutchman’s family friend and fellow racer Tom Coronel has given De Vries a chance of potentially making the step up to Mercedes. As one of two reserve drivers at Mercedes, De Vries will likely be at the front of the queue should anything happen before next season.
Coronel said: “If Lewis Hamilton stops, Nyck de Vries will get the seat. Do you know why? As I’ve been saying for a year, Nyck is Toto Wolff’s insurance policy.”
But Williams chief Dave Robson has indicated that they will also be keeping a close eye on De Vries heading into 2023.
“He clearly has what he needs to be to be an absolute top-quality competition driver,” Robson said. “He’s worthy of a place on the grid, I think, but so many people are.
“His pace was there. His ability to understand the tyre and do the out-lap correctly, was really impressive. He had some very useful comments on the balance of the car, which agrees quite well with what we’ve heard from the two race drivers.”
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