Russell reveals how DTM offer nearly prevented Mercedes F1 career

George Russell has revealed how an offer to race in DTM nearly led to his F1 career with Mercedes potentially not happening.

Back in 2015, Russell turned down a European F3 sponsorship offer from the Silver Arrows’ Team Principal, Toto Wolff, and instead opted to drive for the Volkswagen-powered Carlin team.

Then, later in the year, the Briton received an offer to compete in DTM with BMW, and this led to Mercedes coming back into the picture.

“I did a test with BMW in December in Jerez,” Russell told the Motor Sport Magazine Podcast.

“They sent one of their factory drivers from DTM as the reference driver, and we ended up being faster than the reference.

“Mercedes were doing a rookie test with their factory driver and their chosen rookies, Audi were there doing a test as well. I remember [Antonio] Giovinazzi was doing that test back in 2015.

“Everybody could see the times by the end of that day, it wasn’t public but privately you could see that we were the fastest time of the day.

“There was an engineer who had shifted from BMW to Mercedes, and I think, potentially, he was quite influential, saying, ‘This guy was very fast and you need to sign him before BMW do.’

“So I had the contract on the table from BMW, almost ready to sign it, and that’s when I got the phone call from Gwen Lagrue in January 2016. I was sat in the bath actually. He was saying, ‘I want to have a conversation about joining Mercedes.’ And that’s where it all started really.”

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