Jüri Vips first Estonian ever to take wheel of F1 car at GP weekend

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Jüri Vips.
Jüri Vips. Source: Dutch Photo Agency / Red Bull Content Pool

Estonian racing driver Jüri Vips made Estonia motorsport history Friday after completing 22 laps in free practice at the Spanish Grand Prix.

Vips, 21, from Tallinn, stood in for regular Red Bull driver Sergio Perez, and, possibly due to tire selection at the  Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, was around four seconds off the pacesetters, the two Ferrari drivers, Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jr. and reigning world champion Max Verstappen (Red Bull).

Vips took second place in qualifying for the supporting F2 event, the Catalan GP, later on Friday, finishing second only to Australian Jack Doohan (Virtuosi). Denmark drove for the third time, losing 0.24 seconds to the winner.

A sprint race is planned for Saturday evening, the main race will take place on Sunday just after 12.30 Estonian time.

Vips has been competing in the FIA Formula 2 Championship with Hitech Grand Prix. And was ADAC Formula 4 champion 2017. He is also a member of the Red Bull Junior Team. He was announced as a reserve driver for Red Bull for the 2022 F1 season.

Vips is not the first Estonian ever to drive an F1 car - that honor belongs to Marko Asmer, who tested for the Williams BMW team back in 2003, but did not compete at a race meeting. Asmer went on to win British F3 in 2007 and had made the most progress in open-wheel racing in Europe prior to Vips' season starting.

Ott Tänak was the first Estonian to win the WRC rally drivers' championship, in 2019.

This article was updated to include Vip's performance in qualifying for the F2 event.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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