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Nyck de Vries

Formula 1's most recent one-race wonders

Though F1 drivers are typically contracted to race for at least a full season, replacement drivers are occasionally called upon if the regulars are indisposed. RacingNews365.com takes a look back at the last five drivers to take part in only one Grand Prix.

De Vries Monza 2022
To news overview © XPBimages

Nyck de Vries, 2022 Italian Grand Prix

The most recent addition to this list, Nyck de Vries (main picture) won't be a member of Formula 1's one-hit wonder club for much longer, having signed to drive for AlphaTauri in 2023.

The Dutchman's unexpected F1 debut came at the 2022 Italian Grand Prix after Williams' Alex Albon was laid low with appendicitis.

Having driven for Aston Martin during Friday practice, de Vries suddenly found himself suiting up for Williams in time for qualifying on Saturday.

Despite the short notice, the Dutchman thrived on his Grand Prix debut, lining up eighth on the grid after penalties were applied to other drivers. De Vries then showed both speed and maturity in Sunday's race to finish in ninth place, equalling the best result that Williams would achieve all season long.

Having performed so admirably in difficult circumstances, de Vries was suddenly hot property, and the Dutchman was rewarded for his efforts with a race seat at AlphaTauri for 2023 and beyond.

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Jack Aitken, 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix

British-Korean Jack Aitken was another whose unexpected debut came thanks to medical reasons. When Lewis Hamilton contracted Covid-19 on the eve of the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix, Mercedes' reserve driver George Russell was drafted in from his race seat at Williams to replace him.

With Williams therefore needing a new driver, they called upon their own reserve driver Aitken to make a surprise Grand Prix debut.

Williams' FW43 was not a quick car, and expectations for Aitken were low, but the Briton compared well to the team's regular driver Nicholas Latifi, and brought the car home in 15th place.

However, Aitken would indirectly have a significant bearing on the result of the race, when he spun on lap 61 and triggered the deployment of the Safety Car. Mercedes then called race leader Russell in to pit but mistakenly put the wrong tyres on his car, meaning he was forced to pit again a lap later, losing him the chance of a race win.

Though Aitken remained Williams' official reserve driver until the end of the 2022 season, the Grove squad are yet to announce who will fill the role for 2023, and with Aitken having not raced in single seaters since a half-season in F2 in 2021, the Briton doesn't look likely to add to his sole Grand Prix start.

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Andre Lotterer, 2014 Belgian Grand Prix

Having failed to progress to F1 in the early 2000s, Andre Lotterer instead turned his attentions to Japan, and had a very productive stint in the land of the rising sun, taking one Super Formula title and two Super GT championship wins across 15 years.

The German also raced with distinction in the World Endurance Championship, taking three overall wins with Audi in the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Though he may have thought his F1 dream had long since passed him by, Lotterer did eventually make his Grand Prix debut in 2014 at the comparatively late age of 32, when an opportunity presented itself for him to replace Caterham's regular driver Kamui Kobayashi for the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa.

With Caterham very much among F1's backmarkers, Lotterer had little chance to show his true talents, but nevertheless impressed by qualifying almost a second quicker than teammate Marcus Ericsson.

Alas for Lotterer, his race was over almost before it had begun, with an electrical failure forcing him out on Lap 2, and the German then returned to his regular diet of WEC and Super Formula for the rest of 2014 and beyond.

			© xpb.cc
	© xpb.cc

Markus Winkelhock, 2007 European Grand Prix

Son of 1980s racer Manfred, Markus Winkelhock made one of F1's most notorious debuts when he took the wheel at Spyker for the 2007 European Grand Prix after Christijan Albers' sponsorship had dried up.

Torrential rain had arrived at the Nurburgring just minutes before the start of the race, and while all the other drivers tiptoed around on the formation lap to take the start on slicks, Spyker called Winkelhock in and changed to full Wet tyres.

It proved to be a masterstroke, as while all the other drivers were forced to pit for Wets at the end of Lap 1, Winkelhock sailed by into the lead, running as many as 33 seconds ahead of the chasing pack.

Unfortunately for the German, conditions had become so bad that the race was red-flagged on Lap 3, before later being restarted. And while Winkelhock initially led the field away, the German was quickly engulfed by the rest of the pack in much drier conditions, and ultimately retired on Lap 13 with a hydraulic failure.

Though Spyker decided against offering Winkelhock a full-time ride, the German's extraordinary debut nevertheless sees him hold a unique F1 record of having led every race he entered.

			© xpb.cc
	© xpb.cc

Stephane Sarrazin, 1999 Brazilian Grand Prix

Though serving as a test driver for Prost, Stephane Sarrazin's only Grand Prix appearance came in Brazil 1999 with Minardi, after regular driver Luca Badoer had been injured in a testing crash.

Despite the limitations of the Faenza outfit's 1999 offering, Sarrazin managed to qualify an impressive 18th, three places and 0.7 seconds ahead of teammate Marc Gene.

Unfortunately, things unravelled for the Frenchman in the race, as a throttle issue pitched him into a big accident on Lap 31.

Sarrazin would never again race in F1, but the Frenchman has become a true Jack-of-all-trades in motorsport circles, winning races across single seaters, touring cars, sportscars, rallying and off-road disciplines.

Also interesting:

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Check out our handy explainer video below.


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