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Vandoorne "hurt" by Russell decision

NEWS STORY
03/12/2020

Stoffel Vandoorne admits to being left feeling "hurt" by Mercedes decision to draft in George Russell for this weekend's Sakhir Grand Prix, but respects the German team's call.

As the Brackley outfit's official test and reserve driver, Vandoorne was considered a shoo-in for the drive once it was revealed that Lewis Hamilton had tested positive for the coronavirus.

However, just hours after learning of the world champion's incapacity, team boss Toto Wolff was in talks with Williams with a view to the British outfit releasing Russell.

For Vandoorne, who was recruited by Mercedes, initially as a simulator driver, last year after being dropped by McLaren at the end of 2018, it was a bitter blow for the Belgian who now races for the German manufacturer's Formula E team.

"Obviously, I'm disappointed not to get the chance to drive for Mercedes this weekend," he wrote on Instagram. "After having spent the year travelling to all F1 races and dedicating so much time, physical training, commitment to this programme… it hurts!" he admitted.

"On the other hand, I respect the choice of putting George Russell in the car," he continued. "He has been one of the standout drivers and he fully deserves this opportunity.

"It's moments like these that make my drive even bigger and I can assure you I'm going to continue giving 100%! Thank you so much everyone for all your supportive messages! It's been great to see.

"I want wish Lewis Hamilton a speedy recovery and hopefully he'll be back in the car ASAP... nobody can really replace him!"

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1. Posted by F1 Yank, 03/12/2020 20:22

"Yeah, I feel badly for Vandorne in this case. He was hired by Mercedes as a reserve driver and one of his job's objectives (Probably #2 next to testing) is to fill in for the primary drivers when needed. Interesting but I believe Russell's seat is confirmed for 2021 so other than wanting a current driver on the grid to fill in for HAM there has to be something behind this. I would have preferred to see Hulkenberg in there. The FIA should not allow this substitution and should have this stipulated via contracts. The teams should stand behind their reserve driver picks just as much as their main drivers. "

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