The little-known rule that means Hamilton won’t drive in France first practice

Seven-time F1 champion Lewis Hamilton will be forced to sit out of the opening practice session for the French Grand Prix with Mercedes deciding to run reigning Formula E champion Nyck de Vries.
Lewis Hamilton (GBR)
Lewis Hamilton (GBR)

For 2022, all 10 F1 teams are required to run a ‘young driver’ in two FP1 sessions during the year.

A rookie driver is defined as someone who “may not have participated in more than two F1 World Championship Races during their career”.

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Who is Hamilton's replacement?

De Vries will replace Hamilton in the first practice session at the Circuit Paul Ricard on Friday.

The Dutchman already got a taste for F1 earlier in the year, driving for Williams in FP1 at the Spanish Grand Prix.

Despite his wealth of motorsport experience, winning the F2 and Formula E titles, de Vries meets the criteria.

De Vries was in the frame to make his F1 debut in 2022 with Williams but lost out on the seat to Alex Albon.

Mercedes outlined in their pre-weekend press release: “Nyck de Vries will be driving in place of Lewis Hamilton in FP1. Over the course of the season, each driver is required to give up one of their first practice sessions for a young driver. 

“Lewis has selected FP1 in France for his session, and George's will take place later in the season.”

Will it impact Mercedes' chances at the F1 French Grand Prix?

Mercedes are expected to perform strongly this weekend with the smooth track surface likely going to suit the W13.

Additionally, the warmer temperatures will benefit Mercedes’ common tyre warm-up issues. 

Hamilton is one of the most experienced drivers on the grid with nearly 300 grands prix his name.

While missing FP1 isn’t 100 per cent ideal, particularly given how tricky the W13 is to set up, Hamilton’s experience and track record at Paul Ricard (three wins in four attempts) shouldn’t be too detrimental for the rest of the weekend. 

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