Williams reserve driver Paul DiResta has been called up to replace a sick Felipe Massa for the remainder of the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend.
Following Friday’s free practice sessions Massa went first to the on track medical centre, and then onto a local hospital complaining of dizzy spells. He was checked out before being released to return home to the hotel for the evening. He faced FIA sanctioned medical checks this morning but they cleared him to race.
Despite been given the all-clear to start the session, Massa completed just 12 laps before stopping his session early because he was feeling unwell. The Williams mechanics were then seen replacing the pedals in Massa’s car in the closing stages of Practice Three, suggesting early on there was going to be a change of driver for the rest of the weekend.
Soon after the end of Free Practice Three Williams released a statement confirming Massa will not be taking part in the rest of the weekend.
“After feeling unwell during practice in Budapest on Friday and Saturday, Felipe Massa will not drive for the remainder of the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend.”
“Williams support Felipe’s decision and the team will work with him to ensure he makes a full recovery, with a view to return to the race track for the Belgian Grand Prix.”
This means the teams official reserve driver Paul DiResta will step up and replace Massa for the remainder of the weekend. The Scot is now set for his 59th Grand Prix start and his first since the 2013 Brazilian GP, when he was driving for Force India.
DiResta is yet to drive the 2017 Williams car, though he has driven the previous 2014 Williams hybrid, meaning the hybrid technology shouldn’t be too much of a shock for him. However with no Free Practice running, DiResta will be thrown into the deep end for one of the most important qualifying sessions of the season, due to the difficulties to overtake round the track in the race.
One factor DiResta does have in his favour is that he has already raced at the Hungaroring this year in DTM and won. However, despite that fact, this is still going to be a baptism of fire for DiResta.
Statement form Williams:
— WILLIAMS RACING (@WilliamsRacing) July 29, 2017
Feature Image Credit: Williams Martini Racing Press Release.