Dutch racing driver currently competing in the 2021 European Le Mans Series season with G-Drive Racing Nyck de Vries was quickest for Mercedes on the first day of the post-season testing session at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi. Nyck De Vries, who will continue to drive for Mercedes in FE in what is set to be its final season in the category in 2022, was briefly linked to the Williams ‘22 drive which eventually went to Alex Albon.
Ferrari junior and development driver Antonio Fuoco was among the 11 drivers called up for the ‘young driver test’ portion of the two-day post-season event, with those with two or fewer Formula 1 grand prix starts allowed to take part in 2021-spec F1 machinery and current tyres.
All Formula 1 teams made use of this testing session, while every team apart from Williams is also running a ‘mule car’ adapted to the new 18-inch F1 tyres which will make their competitive F1 debut in the 2022 championship. These nine ‘mule cars’ will also run at the Yas Marina circuit on Wednesday.
2021 Formula 1 champion Max Verstappen was just 17th for Red Bull, half a tenth up on Mercedes newcomer George Russell. Both logged well over 100 laps, but the mileage rankings for the day were led by Antonio Fuoco, who first drove a 2021 Ferrari and then a Ferrari 18-inch ‘mule car’.
Daniel Ricciardo’s McLaren was the fastest of the ‘mule cars’, narrowly beating Lance Stroll’s Aston to the honour. Like Vips, Ricciardo also caused a red flag with a stoppage – as did Williams F1 junior Logan Sargeant.