Vandoorne admits 'hurt' over missing out on replacing Hamilton

Mercedes reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne admits ‘hurt’ over missing out on replacing Lewis Hamilton for the Sakhir Grand Prix, with the world champion ruled out following positive test for coronavirus

  • George Russell will replace Lewis Hamilton for the Sakhir Grand Prix on Sunday
  • Mercedes call to bring in Brit from Williams meant snubbing  Stoffel Vandoorne
  • Although Russell has a Mercedes contract, Vandoorne is their reserve driver

Stoffel Vandoorne has admitted ‘it hurt’ to be snubbed for the Mercedes seat vacated by Lewis Hamilton ahead of Sunday’s Sakhir Grand Prix.

Hamilton will miss out on the second race to be held at the Sakhir circuit following last week’s Bahrain Grand Prix where he took a fifth straight victory.

His positive test for coronavirus has ruled him out and it initially led to large speculation over who would replace the world champion who has already won his record equalling seventh title this term.

Stoffel Vandoorne has admitted he is ‘hurt’ not to be driving for Mercedes at the Sakhir GP

Mercedes needed a replacement for Lewis Hamilton who will miss the event following a positive test for coronavirus

Vandoorne drives in Formula E for Mercedes and after testing his car in Spain on Tuesday flew to Bahrain to join the team, having mixed his racing duties with a role as the Silver Arrows’ official reserve F1 driver too. 

But the team eventually decided on Williams star George Russell, who is under a Mercedes contract, and it left a sour taste in the mouth of Vandoorne who upon arrival soon found he would not be needed. 

‘Firstly, I want [to] wish Lewis Hamilton a speedy recovery and hopefully he’ll be back in the car asap! Nobody can really replace him!’ Vandoorne wrote on social media.

Vandoorne is Mercedes’ official reserve driver and drives for them in the Formula E series

Vandoorne has previous F1 experience with McLaren but failed to impress in 41 races

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

The Belgian has plenty of F1 experience having driven 41 races for McLaren between 2016 and 2018 and gaining 26 points.

But the once promising young star of the sport was left with a damaged reputation having been comprehensively outperformed by team-mate Fernando Alonso by the end of his stint with the Woking outfit.

Williams driver George Russell has been called up to replace Hamilton for the race in Sakhir

The 28-year-old though has admitted that Russell has earned his spot to be given a chance to perform with Mercedes, with the 22 year-old having been able to show glimpses of his talent despite running in an uncompetitive Williams at the back of the field. 

Vandoorne added: ‘I respect the choice of putting George Russell in the car. 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 per cent!’

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