Reports: Mercedes Set to Pick De Vries Over Hulkenberg and Vandoorne for Williams F1 Seat

Published 07/27/2021, 12:01 PM EDT
Formula One F1 – British Grand Prix – Silverstone Circuit, Silverstone, Britain – July 17, 2021 Williams’ George Russell during practice REUTERS/Peter Cziborra


Over the past few weeks, Williams have been on the hunt for a driver to replace George Russell, who is likely to make his move to the championship-winning F1 team, Mercedes AMG, come 2022.

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Unfortunately, with pretty much no F2 drivers on standby to step into F1, the Brackley outfit started looking for options outside the junior drivers’ programme. And this sprung up a few names including Nico Hulkenberg and Stoffel Vandoorne showing keen interest in taking over Russell’s seat.

However, in the recent turn of events, there seems to be a plot twist in the story. According to Motorsport, Mercedes aren’t interested in replacing Russell with an experienced F1 driver.

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Instead, the leading contender at the moment is Formula-E driver, Nyck de Vries, who is yet to make his debut in F1. He is also one of Mercedes’ test and reserve drivers this season alongside his Formula-E teammate.

De Vries’ incredible 2021 Formula-E season with Mercedes

The Dutchman has had a stellar season so far in Formula-E, racing for the Mercedes EQ racing team. De Vries is currently leading the championship table ahead of Robert Frijns and Sam Bird. Meanwhile, De Vries’ teammate, Stoffel Vandoorne is lurking outside the top 10 in a rather unimpressive P13.

Hence, this may have tempted Mercedes to prefer the 26-year-old over the former McLaren driver. Prior to Formula-E, de Vries embraced a brilliant phase in Formula 2 championship, having competed in the series between 2017 and 2019.

De Vries is also the 2019 F2 world champion, which subsequently pushed Mercedes to recruit the Dutchman to compete in Formula-E.

Drivers competing for the Williams seat alongside De Vries

A few of the biggest names on the list were Nico Hulkenberg and Stoffel Vandoorne. And both the drivers are pushing quite hard to make a comeback in F1. Why you might ask?

Well, having stayed away from F1 for too long already, 2022 could be their ultimate chance at returning to F1, as a comeback any time beyond 2022 is looking bleak.

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Nico Hulkenberg of Germany and Renault Sport F1 looks on in the garage during practice for the F1 Grand Prix of Italy at Autodromo di Monza in Monza, Italy. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

However, with de Vries coming up as the leading candidate for the remaining seat at Williams, this could well be the end of both Hulkenberg and Vandoorne’s careers in F1.

However, these are just paper talks at the moment, and the reality could be far from the assumptions. Hence, will there be a surprise at the end of the tunnel? Could Hulkenberg or Vandoorne make a shocking return to F1 despite the odds lying against the duo?

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Rohit Kumar

1143 articles

Rohit Kumar is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been an ardent follower of the racing series since 2007, with his love for the sport coinciding with his love for Kimi Raikkonen. He is also an ardent follower of Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin Racing.

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