Nyck de Vries leaving Mercedes ‘very grateful’ for their support after final FP1 run

Henry Valantine
Nyck de Vries in the paddock. Mexico October 2022.

Mercedes reserve driver Nyck de Vries prepares for FP1. Mexico October 2022.

Nyck de Vries completed his final FP1 session for Mercedes on Friday, and he said he now leaves the team after “three great years together”.

The current Mercedes reserve took the wheel of George Russell’s car for first practice in Mexico as the team fulfilled one of their mandatory rookie slots in practice this season.

He earned a full-time drive with AlphaTauri for 2023 after options opened up for him following a starring substitute appearance for Williams at Monza in September, scoring points on his debut as a last-minute replacement for the unwell Alex Albon.

While he will leave the Mercedes stable to join their arch rivals in Red Bull through their sister team, the former Formula E and Formula 2 champion is departing with only happy memories – and he and the team are still full of respect for each other.

When asked by if his last session with Mercedes was an emotional one, De Vries responded: “Yeah, it was indeed. And I’m very happy. We ended it well; I enjoyed the session.

“We’ve had three great years together – actually it was four, but the first year was a bit unofficial – but yeah, we had a good time together.

“I’m very grateful for all the opportunities the team has given me. I’ve learned a lot, I’ve built up personal relationships within the team, and our relationship is still good.

“So I’m just grateful for that and now I’m obviously looking forward to the next chapter in my career.

“We obviously did a bit of a different programme, a little bit more focused on future aero development, and I was happy with what I did, and also I’m feeling more and more kind of comfortable and happy in this Formula 1 environment, so I enjoyed it.

“I think we did a good job, we got what we had to get out of it. So it was a good session.”

Team boss Toto Wolff said prior to his move away that he would not stand in De Vries’ way as he pursued a full-time drive in Formula 1, but the Dutchman understandably now has to be kept at a distance when it comes to team information – so he has given himself a new role as his time with Mercedes ticks down.

“I appointed myself as the marketing entertainer because sadly, I’m no longer part of all the meetings,” he smiled. “So, not so much involved on the kind of performance side anymore.”

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