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Ex-F1 driver Doornbos shares a unique perspective on Russell and Mercedes

Former Formula 1 driver Robert Doornbos offers a unique take on why Mercedes wouldn't sign George Russell this year highlighting an issue from Bahrain.

Former Minardi driver Robert Doornbos says that George Russell's height would have proven to be a stumbling block in his quest for a Mercedes seat in 2021. Russell who substituted for Hamilton during the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix, was tipped by many as a possible replacement for the regining champion if he failed to reach an agreement with Mercedes. Former driver Doornbos however, feels that Russell's build would have been a potential road block. "You saw when Russell got into Sakhir, that the car was not optimal for his taller body," Doornbos said to Motorsport.com. "You then have a too tight monocoque and that cannot be remedied just like that. Hamilton and his teammate Valtteri Bottas are roughly the same height, but Russell is about four inches taller than the seven-time world champion." The Dutch racing driver also highlighted Russell's plight at Sakhir citing his shoes as another issue. "The Mercedes talent had to wear shoes a size smaller - but still a size larger than Hamilton's - on his foray into Bahrain, otherwise the car would be too tight," said Doornbos. "But driving with shoes that are too small for a whole season is no good. You couldn't solve this with a different pair of shoes or a different set of pedals." Doornbos, who was a Red Bull driver himself, also offered the example of Mark Webber, who when he signed for Red Bull was the team's tallest driver. "In my time at Red Bull this was also a thing," Doornbos elaborated. "When Mark Webber joined the team, the chassis had to be adjusted to suit its height. "So getting Russell was at one point a thing of the past for Mercedes. Nevertheless, it took a long time to settle the matter."

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