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Mercedes happy with Nyck de Vries progress but admit they may ‘let him go’ if he fails to land F1 seat

Mercedes happy with Nyck de Vries progress but admit they may ‘let him go’ if he fails to land F1 seat

Nyck de Vries is the reigning Formula E champion while he has also won the Formula 2 title, but may struggle to land an F1 seat for 2023 with few options available; Lewis Hamilton “coached” the Dutchman during practice outing for Mercedes at French GP

Last Updated: 27/07/22 7:10am

Toto Wolff has conceded that he “can’t help” Nyck de Vries in his search for a Formula 1 seat and says Mercedes “may need to let him go”.

De Vries, 27, is a highly-rated driver who has Formula E and Formula 2 titles under his belt, and he got a chance to shine in his role as Mercedes reserve at the French GP when filling in for Lewis Hamilton in first practice.

That outing – where De Vries impressed the world champions again – prompted more talk of De Vries possibly joining the F1 grid in 2023, with Williams the most obvious contender given their Mercedes partnership and the fact the Dutchman has also driven for them in practice this season.

Mercedes boss Wolff is keen to get De Vries a chance on the grid, like George Russell was afforded when a Mercedes reserve, but admitted to Sky Sports F1: “I can’t really help him.

Mercedes reserve driver Nyck de Vries takes to the track, as he replaces Lewis Hamilton for first practice ahead of the French GP

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Mercedes reserve driver Nyck de Vries takes to the track, as he replaces Lewis Hamilton for first practice ahead of the French GP

Mercedes reserve driver Nyck de Vries takes to the track, as he replaces Lewis Hamilton for first practice ahead of the French GP

“We can’t tell a team to look at him because that feels like interference and then it goes the contrary way.”

Wolff also said that without an F1 seat, it may be time to release De Vries, who won the Formula E title for Mercedes last year.

“I think if we are not able to provide him with an interesting Formula 1 project, in a way we need to let him go,” he said after practice on Friday.

“He’s looking at various options, sportscars, maybe Formula E, but you just must never give up on the opportunity that one day a Formula 1 door can open. Today was very, very good.”

De Vries finished ninth in first practice at Paul Ricard, just half a second down on Russell.

Sky F1's Ted Kravitz reflects on all the big talking points from the French GP

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Sky F1’s Ted Kravitz reflects on all the big talking points from the French GP

Sky F1’s Ted Kravitz reflects on all the big talking points from the French GP

His efforts earned praise from Hamilton, who watched on from the garage and, as Wolff revealed, coached De Vries along the way.

“I was a bit confused because I came in there and he was sat in my seat,” said Wolff of Hamilton watching on in the garage. “I thought, why are you not in the car!

“It was interesting because he was coaching Nyck, he was helping him with the overlays. That was interesting to see.”