Vettel to be replaced at Italian GP practice by Hamilton back-up

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Sebastian Vettel will be replaced by Nyck de Vries for the first practice session at the Italian Grand Prix this week, Formula One has confirmed. Regulations state that teams must allocate two practice sessions to field a driver who has not competed in two Grands Prix.

Aston Martin will use De Vries in FP1 this friday. Four-times world champion Vettel will sit out. 

It will be the third time that De Vries has participated in a practice session this year. The 27-year-old raced for Williams in place of Alex Albon at the Spanish Grand Prix. 

Most notably, he replaced Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes seat ahead of the French Grand Prix in July. De Vries will now ride for Aston Martin in the first practice session instead of Vettel, who will retire at the end of the season. 

“I am really looking forward to driving for AMF1, particularly at such a legendary circuit as Monza,” De Vries said of the opportunity to drive for Aston Martin in Italy.

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“It will be my third FP1 session of the season, and in the third different Formula One chassis, and these opportunities have given me a fantastic insight into how Formula One cars and teams function and operate. I hope I can bring a fresh perspective to the AMF1 team and can undertake a run-programme that proves beneficial to us both.”

“We are delighted to welcome Nyck to our team, and we look forward to working with him at Monza,” Aston Martin Team principal Mike Krack added. 

“I have watched Nyck’s career with great interest – he drove brilliantly to win the Formula Two title in 2019 and underlined his class by winning the Formula E World Championship in 2020/2021, so we are looking forward to gaining his perspectives and insights about our car.

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“His achievements show that he clearly deserves a shot at Formula One – and, hopefully, this opportunity to get behind the wheel of the AMR22 will allow him to showcase his abilities to the wider world.”

When De Vries drove for Mercedes instead of Hamilton, he revealed afterwards that he was not “entirely happy” with his session. He posted a best time of 1m35.426s on his way to finishing the session in ninth. 

The Dutchman said afterwards: “I felt like we had a good session. I felt like we were fairly quick on the pace. The grip is high here so it gives you a lot of confidence to push. 

“I wasn’t entirely satisfied with my soft tyre run because on my second lap I made a few mistakes and then we didn’t do two consecutive. Nevertheless, it was a good session. We managed to do good work for the team to get a little bit more learning on the things they have brought for this weekend, so generally I think it was a good session.”

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