LEWIS HAMILTON’S replacement for first practice at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix has been named.
Mercedes have confirmed that Frederik Vesti will take his place in the driving seat.
Lewis Hamilton will miss first practice at the Abu Dhabi grand prixRex
GettyFrederik Vesti will drive Hamilton’s car at the Yas Marina circuit[/caption]
An F1 rule introduced last year requires each team to run a rookie for two practice sessions across the season.
With the Abu Dhabi race weekend serving as the season finale, a host of young drivers are set to appear, with every team yet to fulfil the requirements.
Vesti will be amongst those promising starlets after Mercedes confirmed he will drive Hamilton’s car.
The 21-year-old previously took part in first practice in Mexico last month in place of George Russell.
He has impressed in Formula 2 for Prema Racing this year, having been a part of Mercedes’ Silver Arrows programme since 2021.
The Danish driver is second in the F2 standings ahead of the final round at the Yas Marina circuit and could clinch the championship this weekend.
Vesti will first appear in FP1, though, and 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.
It has been a difficult season for Hamilton and MercedesRex
“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.”
It has been a difficult season for Mercedes, who have yet to win a race in 2023.
Hamilton and Russell’s final places in the Drivers’ Championship have also already been confirmed, with the pair finishing third and eighth, respectively.