‘Let’s see what happens’: Potential Hamilton replacement practicing on sim, ready to pounce on F1 opportunity

Sir Lewis Hamilton's future has still not been confirmed after his cruel championship defeat last year.

Mercedes EQ Formula E driver Nyck De Vries has maintained his ambition to one day compete in Formula 1, and said he has been practising on the team’s F1 simulator since his arrival into the all-electric series.

The Dutchman claimed victory in the 2019 Formula 2 championship, but unfortunately was unable to secure a seat for the 2020 season in the pinnacle of motorsport.

He instead headed across to Formula E to form part of the German manufacturer’s electric racing team.

De Vries would claim two victories on his way to championship glory in 2021, while he and former McLaren F1 driver Stoffel Vandoorne helped Mercedes to the teams’ title as well.

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With doubt continuing to loom over Sir Lewis Hamilton’s future following his heart-breaking championship defeat to Max Verstappen last year, De Vries’ name is one that could very conceivably be in the mix should the Briton opt to leave F1.

Lewis Hamilton retirement rumours continue to grow.v1

The 26-year-old revealed that he has spent a lot of time on the F1 simulator while he was not competing in Formula E.

“If I didn’t have commitments [last season] – racing or simulator – in Formula E or in other activities, I mostly worked on the F1 simulator,” he said, as quoted by the Express.

Further, he said that he believes that the intuition of driving a race car can carry over to other series.

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“We all grew up with racing. The driving itself is arguably the detail that requires the least customisation,” he explained.

“The potential of different cars is different, but the basics are always the same.”

Due to the lack of frequency and longevity of a Formula E season, De Vries finds that he needs to find ways in between his relatively sparce racing calendar to keep fit.

“External circumstances make the difference. An athlete who plays football or tennis is in training every day.

“If I only drive Formula E, I have a six-month break. I need the ongoing racing to stay in shape.”

Asked if he would still relish to race in F1 in the future, the Formula E world champion is adamant that he will continue to endeavour to realise his ambitions.

“Every young driver dreams of this dream. I’d be lying if I said I’m no longer striving for Formula One or I’m giving up my dream. Next year is a new season – let’s see what happens.”

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Hamilton said “we’ll see about next year” in his post-race interview at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after a controversial Safety Car restart by race director Michael Masi cost him the race win and consequently his eighth Formula 1 world championship.

The Silver Arrows are set to line up with the seven-time world champion and his compatriot George Russell on the grid in 2022, but it has been speculated that Hamilton is considering retirement.

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