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Juan-Pablo Montoya, BMW Williams FW25 giving Marc Gene, BMW test driver a few tips
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Special feature

The plug in and play stand-ins who got their timing just right

Nyck de Vries’s Italian GP exploits weren’t the first post-eleventh-hour call-up in motorsport history, and won’t be the last either. Here are some offbeat tales from the past

The Williams Monza prelude to de Vries

When Nyck de Vries was called up by Williams on the Saturday morning to race at this year's Italian Grand Prix, he was already at the circuit. Nineteen years ago, Marc Gene was in bed when he received his call from the British team — and didn't answer first time! But on second ring, he was up and on the go at the beginning of a whirlwind ride that took him to his best Formula 1 finish and, albeit very briefly, the lead of a grand prix.

There's another key difference between de Vries's and Gene's experiences as Monza stand-ins with Williams. The Dutchman took part in practice on Friday, admittedly in an Aston Martin; the Spaniard wasn't even at the circuit for much of the first day. Rather, he'd been out and about in nearby Milan with his wife "doing a bit of tourism".

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