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Mercedes to run reserve driver De Vries in place of Hamilton in FP1 at Paul Ricard

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Mercedes have announced that reserve driver Nyck de Vries will be behind the wheel of the W13 during the first practice session of this weekend’s French Grand Prix, in place of Lewis Hamilton.

This will be the 27-year-old Dutch driver’s second FP1 outing of the season after he took the wheel of the Williams FW44 in place of Alex Albon at the Spanish Grand Prix back in May. Moreover, De Vries tested Mercedes machinery in last year’s post-season Abu Dhabi Grand Prix test.

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Team Principal Toto Wolff said: "Nyck is replacing Lewis in first practice this weekend, as part of the allocated sessions for young drivers this year. So, we're looking forward to seeing how he gets on."

Wolff added that the team will be bringing further developments to their W13 in France as they aim to bridge the gap between themselves and the teams ahead.

"Our understanding of the W13 is growing with every lap and it's encouraging to see that reflected in our development and results. While we were quicker in Austria, we still weren't quick enough to challenge at the front. We need to keep chasing those final few tenths and bringing new developments to the cars, including this weekend in France.

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"Paul Ricard is a very different track and challenge. It has smooth tarmac and a wide range of corner types, along with long straights. The aim will be to make further inroads on the gap to the front and hopefully be back on the podium."

Mercedes outscored Red Bull in Austria but still sit third in the constructors' championship, 66 points behind Ferrari.

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