Williams generated plenty of speculation ahead of Free Practice 1 at the Catalunya Circuit after announcing Nyck De Vries would replace Alex Albon for the first practice session of the weekend.
With Nicholas Latifi's position in F1 already under increasing scrutiny, following a frankly embarrassing start to the season for Williams, the comparisons between his performance and that of De Vries (despite it only being FP1) were inevitable.
De Vries was not the only driver to make a one-off appearance in free practice 1, with Kubica and Vips taking the wheel for Alfa Romeo and Red Bull, respectively.
However, only De Vries was in a position to directly compete with a driver whose future in F1 was in such jeopardy. Practice is difficult to analyse for various factors, including the different simulations that drivers and teams go through in free practice.
With that said, when drivers set similar laptimes on similar compounds, it is a safe bet to assume they were running similar programmes. Juri Vips, for example, was several seconds behind Verstappen in FP1, so this can be attributed to different fuel and engine modes.
Nyck De Vries, however, set his best lap-time on the same tyre compound as Latifi. More accurately, the Dutchman was a tenth faster than his teammate.
Again, no conclusions can be drawn from free practice, but this is another piece of evidence - however small it may be - that Latifi is not competing at the required level. Given De Vries has very little experience in an F1 car, seeing him match Latifi is at least worth investigating.
Robert Kubica also bested his teammate, in this case Valtteri Bottas, in FP1. However, Kubica has great F1 experience and is an established driver, whilst Bottas has already become a tremendous asset for Alfa Romeo.
Latifi does not have this credit in the bank, and so Nyck De Vries' FP1 appearance, however brief, is worth noting.