Lando Norris in Brackley? Former F1 Driver Contends Mercedes’ Decision To Hire George Russell

Published 12/30/2021, 4:50 AM EST
Formula One F1 – Russian Grand Prix – Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia – September 25, 2021 McLaren’s Lando Norris celebrates pole position after qualifying with Williams’ George Russell who qualified P3 Pool via REUTERS/Yuri Kochetkov


Valtteri Bottas’ time at Mercedes finally came to an end following the 2021 F1 season, with George Russell replacing the 10-time Grand Prix winner.

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The move did seem fair to many considering the ex-Williams driver’s strong on-track showing in 2021, including the podium at Spa. And to top it all, who could ever forget his stellar drive at the Sakhir GP last season!

Although the end result had a different story to tell, it is reasonable to say that Russell was indeed the most dominant driver of that race, beating his one-off teammate, Bottas, fair and square.

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BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN – Second place qualifier George Russell of Great Britain and Mercedes GP looks on in parc ferme during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Sakhir at Bahrain International Circuit in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Dan Istitene – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Yet, there is still a dilemma in the paddock, with a few corners suggesting that Lando Norris could’ve been a better choice for the second Mercedes driver role. Two of them are F1 commentator, Jack Nicholls, and former Renault F1 driver, Jolyon Palmer.

If I’m Mercedes…and I have a free choice in that second seat alongside Hamilton, I think I’m picking Norris over Russell after this year,” Nicholls told F1: Chequered Flag podcast, according to Planet F1.

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Palmer reckoned that Norris’ drive in Sochi painted a clear picture of his racing capabilities; The Briton managed to hold off Lewis Hamilton, who was in a much superior Mercedes.

I’m going with Jack on it, I’m going with Lando,” he said. “The way that he held off Lewis Hamilton at the end of that Sochi race until the strategy and the tyre choice got away from him, was unbelievable.

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For a guy that has never won a race, to have a seven-time World Champion breathing down his neck in a Mercedes, then it starts raining, and he’s still off the road a couple of times, scrabbling around, but keeping Hamilton, we all know how good he is in the wet, behind him, it was really legendary stuff I think from Norris.

Formula One F1 – Italian Grand Prix – Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Monza, Italy – September 11, 2021 McLaren’s Lando Norris and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton during the sprint qualifying REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzini

Overall, that being said, Norris is likely to stick with McLaren in the long run. And it would have been quite painful for Russell to watch his promised Mercedes seat given away to another driver.

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Hence, choosing Russell over Norris looks to be the right decision for Mercedes. Now, with Russell officially securing the seat, how far can he excel in this new journey? Well, only time will tell.

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Rohit Kumar

1687 articles

Rohit Kumar is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been an ardent follower of the racing series since 2007, with his love for the sport coinciding with his love for Kimi Raikkonen. He is also an ardent follower of Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin Racing.

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