LEWIS HAMILTON’s reserve driver at Mercedes has landed himself in hot water while racing in Formula E.
Lewis Hamilton discusses his experience with race at Formula 1
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Former F1 driver Pascal Wehrlein has launched a scathing attack on Mercedes reserve Nyck de Vries, calling his fellow driver a f***ing idiot”. The pair became embroiled in a heated war of words following their collision at the Formula E Seoul Grand Prix on Sunday.
De Vries was called out by his fellow driver after they came together at Turn 1 with 13th position up for grabs. Wehrlein was forced to pit at the end of the lap but De Vries was left with suspension damage and puncture, forcing him into the pit lane and he later retired from the race.
And the shunt left Wehrlein fuming as the German raged on the radio, with the 27-year-old seemingly left in an unforgiving mood.
“I hope he doesn’t get to F1!” Wehrlein said over his team radio, before the Porsche driver called De Vries a “f***ing idiot”.
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Lewis Hamilton: The Mercedes star’s reserve driver is in hot water (Image: Getty Images)
Wehrlein, who entered 39 races in F1 with Manor and Sauber between 2016 and 2017, obviously knows what it takes to survive in the sport. And it appears he is not keen for De Vries to be given a chance to prove his ability.
De Vries is one of two reserve drivers for Mercedes, along with newly-crowned champion Stoffel Vandoorne, who can deputise in the event that Lewis Hamilton or George Russell cannot race.
He has driven in free practice sessions for both Williams and Mercedes in 2022, fuelling speculation that he could replace Nicholas Latifi’s place with the British team next season. But De Vries is set to remain in Formula E for 2023, with a move to the Maserati programme that’s taking over the current Venturi team.
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Nyck de Vries: The Mercedes reserve driver races in Formula E (Image: Getty Images)
Wehrlein’s grievance appeared to be justified as the stewards agreed that De Vries was the man at fault. Bizarrely, he received a retrospective five-second time penalty despite being retired in the garage.
De Vries stayed tight-lipped on the incident after the race, responding: “What can I say? Everyone is allowed to say what they want to say. Everyone is making a big deal of it but I don’t know.”
The Dutchman won the Formula E championship in 2021, which put him on the radar of several F1 teams including Williams as he eyed a step up to F1. But competition for a drive in the pinnacle of motorsport means that it is difficult to lock down a seat.
However, his fortunes and misdemeanours on the track this season saw him finish in ninth place in the Drivers’ standings, capping a disappointing campaign for the 27-year-old.