Frederik Vesti got his first experience behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car in Abu Dhabi, and it looks like Mercedes couldn’t be happier with his performance.
Since 2021 Vesti has been a member of the Mercedes Junior Team, the Danish racer moved up to Formula 2 in 2022 and finished his rookie campaign P9 in qualifying, taking sprint victory in Baku and a further four podium finishes.
And at the Formula 1 post-season test in Abu Dhabi, Vesti got the chance to drive top-class machinery for the first time, taking the wheel of the W13 to represent Mercedes in the young driver test.
Vesti completed 124 laps throughout the day, finishing 0.024sec ahead of George Russell, who shared 2023 tire testing duties with Lewis Hamilton.
Summing up how Vesti fared, “flawless” was the word that came to mind for Mercedes’ director of ground engineering, Andrew Shovlin.
“We had George and Lewis split the race in one car today while Fred drove the other car all day,” Shovlin said. “George was in the car this morning and Lewis took over this afternoon.
“Fred has been doing a lot of simulation work for us over the last year, but today was his first chance to see how the real car compares to the virtual one. He had a flawless day, managed to avoid mistakes and seemed to have a lot of fun.
“As Pirelli also supplied the 2023 tires for the young driver’s car, we were also able to accelerate our learning by running a program with Fred. Overall it was a successful test and we have covered almost 1,500 kilometres. It’s been a useful day collecting a lot of data that we can now analyze before next year.”
Vesti said words could not describe how incredible his opportunity had been, as he now has his sights set on the 2023 F2 campaign, which will see him switch from the ART team to Prema.
“My first test in an F1 car has been the most amazing day, there are no words to really describe how amazing it was!” Vesti said. “I want to thank Mercedes for giving me this opportunity.
“Driving at 260 km/h in high-speed corners and experiencing 5G on the neck… the forces that a Formula 1 car produces are remarkable. I’ve done 124 laps today learning the car and running on different compounds, so a lot of driving.
“Getting this opportunity has been very important and it will help me with my next step in Formula 2, as well as my work in the F1 simulator. I look forward to driving an F1 car again soon and a big thank you to Mercedes for the opportunity.”
Read next: Pierre Gasly can see why Alpine finished P4 after first outing with the team