Lewis Hamilton ‘replacement’ sends Mercedes message ahead of Red Bull switch | F1 | Sports
Lewis Hamilton’s replacement, Nyck de Vries, has sent a leaving message to Mercedes ahead of his Red Bull move for next season. De Vries thanked Mercedes’ mechanics after his final FP1 appearance for the Silver Arrows ahead of the Mexican Grand Prix.
The Dutchman stepped in for George Russell this weekend in his final warm-up before switching allegiances. Speaking over team radio, De Vries said: “‘I just wanted to use this moment to thank everyone for the past 3 years, and for the opportunities; thank you very much.”
Mercedes engineers responded back with heartfelt messages of support for his F1 future. De Vries has been a key part of the Mercedes camp in recent years with a series of practice appearances.
He stepped in for Hamilton at the French Grand Prix earlier this season as part of his reserve driver duties. The 27-year-old even secured the Formula E title with Mercedes in the 2020/21 season.
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It is understood that Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff rates De Vries’ skills highly. Earlier this season, World Touring Car star Tom Coronel even suggested Wolff had De Vries lined up as Hamilton’s “insurance policy” if the world champion walked away.
He explained: “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.” Wolff has since defended the former F2 champion’s skills after his impressive race debut with Williams at the Italian Grands Prix.
Wolff said: “I think if one of the teams who still have a free seat don’t pick him up now, then I don’t understand the world anymore.” However, De Vries’ excellent performance as a stand-in for Alex Albon did earn him a step up with Red Bull backed AlphaTauri for next season.
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Max Verstappen even revealed that he had helped De Vries contact Helmut Marko after his impressive debut to sort out a deal. The youngster then traveled straight from Monza to Austria for talks with the Red Bull chief.
De Vries has already revealed that he was sent messages of support from Hamilton and Russell after his AlphaTauri deal was announced. Speaking to F1’s Beyond The Grid podcast, De Vries said: “Lewis actually sent me a message on Saturday night which was super kind.
“Both Lewis and George congratulated me after the race and hugged me and everything. So, receiving their support meant the world to me, and it was very overwhelming to receive the support, not from the outside, but very much from the inside.
“They know what it takes, they know what it is, and to feel their goodwill was good.”