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Lando Norris

Should Mercedes have picked Norris over Russell?

A recent BBC podcast has questioned whether Mercedes might have been better off choosing Lando Norris over George Russell to be Lewis Hamilton's teammate.

To news overview © RN365/Michael Potts

Former F1 driver turned TV pundit and broadcaster Jolyon Palmer believes that Lando Norris would have been a better pick for Mercedes for 2022, and that he'd have chosen him over actual signing George Russell.

Norris is committed long-term to McLaren, while Russell is a Mercedes protege, but Palmer has said that he'd like to have seen the man who was beaten to the 2018 Formula 2 title by Russell take the second seat at Mercedes after a stellar year.

Palmer was speaking on the BBC's Chequered Flag podcast, when fellow guest Jack Nicholls made the case for Norris at Mercedes.

"I feel like it's Norris," Nicholls said when asked about his standout driver away from the title contenders Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton.

"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."

"I'm not disregarding Russell in any way. I think he's a tremendous talent. But I'm just saying, if you had to pick over this season - Norris or Russell - I think you're having a really, really difficult choice."

Palmer immediately weighed in to back Nicholls' opinion, saying: "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's never won a race, has a seven-time World Champion breathing down his neck in a Mercedes, then it starts raining, and he's off the road a couple of times, but scrabbling around keeping Hamilton in the wet behind him.

"It was really legendary stuff I think from Norris."

"He's shown Ricciardo the way"

Also backing Norris on the BBC podcast was F1 journalist Andrew Benson, who said that Norris had been his best driver of the year behind the two title contenders.

"I think he's [Norris] been fantastic all season. He had that little dip, didn't he, after Russia?" Benson said.

"I don't know how much of that was psychological, having had the disappointment of having that win slipping through his fingers.

"But he bounced back at the end. He had a fantastic weekend in Abu Dhabi. And I think, as a whole over the season, he's been brilliant in qualifying, his racing has been exemplary."

But it was Norris' performance relative to much-vaunted teammate Daniel Ricciardo that really caught Benson's eye.

"He's shown Daniel Ricardo the way, which I think nobody would have predicted at the start of the season, certainly not to the extent that he has," he added.

"He's really established himself as one of the really highest echelon drivers."

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