I read an article regarding a podcast in which former F1 driver Jolyon Palmer said he would have picked Lando Norris over George Russell if he were at the helm of Mercedes for 2022.
II understand the sentiment as Lando had a terrific year besting a seasoned teammate in the form of Daniel Ricciardo. Much was made back int eh day when Ricciardo bested Sebastian Vettel at Red Bull so being bested by Lando speaks volumes but would that have been the right choice?
If I were at the helm of Mercedes, I would have made the same choice. I would have replaced Valtteri with George. In fact, I probably would have done that last year to be honest and said as much on our podcast.
George is a Mercedes driver and on the payroll so to speak, Lando is not and thus, getting Lando out of his McLaren deal would have been expensive to do. Like you, I’ve watched both drivers mature at their respective teams and I’ve seen them both overachieve in a car that hasn’t been that interested in doing what they ask of it.
I’ve also seen them both mature and develop their race craft. Sure, they’ve both made mistakes and taken chances that ended in crushed carbon fiber but I’ve also seen them perform extraordinarily well under immense pressure.
On the balance it it, I think George is the right choice because we have a marker in which to judge by. With George filling in for Lewis last year and, effectively, winning that race had it not been for some issues that were team derived in what I can only say was very odd for a team that good, he showed that he had the measure of Valtteri Bottas and was doing a terrific job in the champ’s car no less.
I am a fan of both drivers and I do think Lando has made a huge step in his evolution as a top-flight F1 driver this year. There is certainly enough to warrant even considering him over Gorge for the post at Merc but in the end, I don’t think we have much in George to be reticent about either.
What do you think? Is George the right choice or would you have chosen Lando?