Mercedes reserve driver Nyck de Vries is to take over the Lewis Hamiltons seat for the FP1 session of Formula One’s French Grand Prix in 2022 at the end of the week, Mercedes announced earlier today. Lewis Hamilton will be handing over the wheel of his Mercedes reserve driver Nyck de Vries during the first practice, partly to fulfil the team’s commitment under a regulation that requires it to dedicate two practice sessions to rookie drivers for 2022.

A new rule for 2022 requires each racer to give up one practise session to a rookie who has only started two races, with teams entitled to select when to execute the swap. Mercedes enables its racers to choose which races they are ready to forego. Lewis Hamilton will be sitting out first practice in France, predicted to be scorching hot amid Europe’s scorching hot weather, and biding his time before what is not just a landmark weekend but a potentially competitive one for his Mercedes team. News that Nyck De Vries has replaced seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton was revealed at the Mercedes Team Preview, which took place shortly before the French GP weekend.

Nyck de Vries is set to replace Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes squad at the Formula 1s French Grand Prix, part of a requirement that teams provide rookie drivers with a training session during the season. Nyck de Vries has had an outing this year already, having raced for Williams at the Spanish Grand Prix, but now will have a chance to get a taste of life with the Mercedes team as one of the team’s young drivers. In the Mercedes Preview this weekend, team principal Toto Wolff said that Mercedes reserve driver De Vries was replacing Lewis for this weekend’s opening practise as part of a designated session for younger drivers this year.

De Vries is the current Formula E winner, having won the championship for Mercedes alongside fellow backup Stoffel Vandoorne last year. The 27-year-old is now eighth in the Formula E driver rankings this campaign. He previously won the FIA Formula 2 championship in 2019. Mercedes goes to France, the last race just before summer break, after an excellent performance in Austria, where Hamilton claimed his third straight podium ahead of colleague George Russell, who finished fourth.

In addition to de Vries’ appearance for Mercedes, Alfa Romeo will race former F1 championship winner Robert Kubica in Valtteri Bottas’ vehicle for the first practice. After a run at the Spanish Grand Prix in May, that’ll be the Polish driver’s second FP1 appearance of the campaign.