Mercedes told Lando Norris should have been signed instead of George Russell

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Mercedes driver George Russell has opened up on his team’s lack of pace this week. Russell believes that much of the 2022 Mercedes car’s issues relate to its problems with bouncing, also known as porpoising, as the ride height of the car needs to be raised to control this phenomenon. He said this week that Mercedes can “raise the car very high” to potentially solve the issue, adding it could help find “a huge chunk of lap time”. He added: “It’s all well and good saying that, but we can’t physically achieve that right now. So we need to have a rethink.”

The former Williams man is under pressure to prove his worth in his debut season for the Silver Arrows.

Given Mercedes’ dominance in recent years, taking on one of their two seats is a place many drivers would love to find themselves in.

While Russell showed brilliant pace at Williams last season, Mercedes were told in January that they should have signed Lando Norris instead.

Jack Nicholls said on the F1: Chequered Flag podcast at the time: “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.”

Former F1 driver Jolyon Palmer added: “I’m going with Jack on it, I’m going with Lando.

“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.

“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.”

Norris all but ended any chance of him making a move to Mercedes when he committed himself to McLaren last May.

The young driver’s deal keeps him in the papaya of McLaren until 2025.

Upon announcing the deal, Norris said: “I’m really pleased to have extended my relationship with McLaren from 2022.

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He didn’t name any names, but the 22 year old admitted that conversations were had with other teams.

After his deal was announced, Norris added: “There’s no point lying about it, there were little things there with various other teams, but nothing that went far at all.

“There were opportunities that we knew would be coming up in the future with various teams.

“But this is a very strong message to put across to every one [of] the faith we have in each other, how strongly I believe McLaren can still recover and get to the front in the next few years.

“Which teams? That’s something I can’t say. Probably you’ll be able to guess reasonably well.

“There will be opportunities to maybe go to Red Bull or Mercedes and who knows if I would have had those opportunities.

“But the fact it’s known I would have had those opportunities, but have still chosen to stay with McLaren, is a good thing in all this.”


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