It Was 2 A.M. And George Russell Was In The Bathroom When He Got The Call From Mercedes F1

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If you’re in the bathroom at 2 a.m. that usually doesn’t signify good things. For George Russell, though, that happened to be the right place and the right time, as that’s when he got the call to drive for the Mercedes-AMG F1 team at this weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix. Russell, a driver for Williams Racing most weekends, will replace Lewis Hamilton, who’s tested positive for COVID-19.


Here’s how Russell said the call went down, via

“I got a phone call from Toto [Wolff, Mercedes Team Principal] at 2am on Tuesday morning,” said Russell. “I was actually in the bathroom at that moment, which was slightly awkward. He answered the phone and said, ‘George, are you in the bathroom?’ and I said, ‘Sorry, I am in the bathroom’.

“And he said ‘unfortunately Lewis has caught Covid, he’s doing well, he’s healthy and feels fine which is the most important, but we want you to drive’. And then [I had] a bit of a sleepless night and we made it happen throughout the following day.

We can all admire the quick, professional transition from acknowledging that Russell was in the bathroom to the news that Hamilton has COVID and Russell would be needed to drive. But the unexplained thing here, of course, is what sound Wolff heard that led him to intuit that Russell was in a bathroom in the first place. The sound of a fluid in the background would not lead me to immediately question whether my fellow interlocutor was in the can but, uh, other sounds might.

Getting on to the more practical bits of actual racing while also keeping this post bodily themed, Russell also said today that he it is a bit tight in the Mercedes seat. Russell is just over 6 feet tall; Hamilton is 5-foot-9.

“It definitely was a tight squeeze,” said Russell, who’s one of the taller drivers on the grid. “Also my size 11 feet were a struggle, some I’m having to wear a size smaller shoe than would be ideal, so that’s slightly uncomfortable. But I’m sure I can endure the pain to get this opportunity.”

This has been your George Russell body and bathroom update.



This story reminds me of something that happened to me, which also shows that good things can happen when you are in the bathroom. Quick background- I work overseas for a private for profit school that is run like a business. Every year we have a big Chinese New Year party for all the staff and there are lots boring speeches, interesting food, free flow alcohol and a lot of prizes. The grand prize that year was a new car (VW) and they always announce the winner at the very end of the party. We refer to these parties as mandatory fun, as we enjoy our time together but really don’t want to be there.

At this party, as they were about to announce the winner I went to the bathroom to beat the rush. Most people are super excited and everyone stops what they are doing to look at the screen to see who’s name will flash up. I head a cheer as I was in the men’s room and as I was finishing up our principal rushed into the bathroom. He is a really good friend of mine, and also loves to pull pranks and mess with people. He was also pretty drunk by then. He excitedly told me that I won the car. If it was anyone else, I may have believed him so I just laughed it off and went to wash my hands. At that time my another friend (who plays bass in my band) and was also drunk told me the same thing. I’ll never forget him saying, “Dude, you won the car!!”

The two of them are not friends with each other, and I doubted that they would be in on the same prank and I began to think that I may have actually won. The two of them dragged me back into the hall and all eye were on me, I realized that I was the winner.

Too bad it was for a VW, there is not one car in their line up that I was remotely interested in. In the end I sold the car to a friend who was in the market for buying a new VW, so she was really happy to get a discount on a new car and I used the money for down payment on my house.

Next time anyone tells me anything in the bathroom, I am going to believe them.