Mercedes confirm Lewis Hamilton’s replacement for Abu Dhabi practice
Hamilton will miss first practice for the last race of the year.
Mercedes have confirmed that Frederik Vesti will take part in first practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in the place of Sir Lewis Hamilton.
A new rule introduced to Formula One last year dictates that each team must run a rookie driver in two practice sessions across the season.
This weekend plays host to the season finale in Abu Dhabi and every team is yet to fulfil that requirement, meaning they’ll be a whole host of new names behind the wheel on Friday.
One of these names will be Vesti, who Mercedes have confirmed will drive Hamilton’s car, having previously participated in FP1 in Mexico last month in place of George Russell.
The 21-year-old has been a part of the Silver Arrows’ junior programme since 2021 and has enjoyed a fantastic year in Formula 2 with Prema Racing.
With five wins to his name, the Dane is second in the standings with just the final round at the Yas Marina circuit to go, and though he still has a chance of winning the championship it is likely that Theo Pourchaire will hold on to claim the title.
Nevertheless, the future looks very bright for Vesti, who told Mercedes’ official website: ‘Driving in FP1 in Abu Dhabi is another step in my career.
‘Getting my first experience of an official session on an F1 weekend in Mexico was a big moment. I learnt so much, and it was great being able to support the team and work with Lewis and George.
‘I’m looking forward to building on that experience at Yas Marina. It’s a track I know well and that will no doubt make it easier to get up to speed in the one hour of practice.
‘I’m extremely excited to get back behind-the-wheel of the W14 for FP1 and then the post-season test. Once again, I want to say a big thank you to the team for giving me this opportunity.’
As for the F1 side of things, there is still much for Mercedes to race for despite Max Verstappen and Red Bull wrapping up the titles a while ago.
Though Hamilton and Russell will finish third and eighth in the drivers’ championship no matter what, there are only four points separating Mercedes and Ferrari in the battle for P2 in the constructors’ standings.
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