F1 2024 Saudi Arabian GP – Driver of the Day

Oliver Bearman took the prize on his F1 debut with Ferrari at the 2024 Saudi Arabian GP

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Oliver Bearman won Formula 1’s Driver of the Day award with 48% of the vote after a sensational drive at the 2024 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix to finish seventh on his debut in the sport.

The man replacing Carlos Sainz, who was absent due to appendicitis, started 11th for the race after a strong qualifying debut with practically no preparation time and he managed to cut through the field to make crucial overtakes on Yuki Tsunoda and Nico Hulkenberg.

He spent the majority of the race in ninth place but that didn’t mean he wasn’t impressing even then as he continued to manage his tyres and temperatures throughout.

That meant that when Lando Norris and Lewis Hamilton pitted in the McLaren and Mercedes cars, Bearman inherited those places and from there he managed to go toe-to-toe with the experienced pair to bring home seventh by maintaining a small gap.

A great result for Ferrari

It’s a big result for the team in the absence of one of their senior drivers in Sainz. Ferrari might have initially counted themselves out of any decent points but instead they will leave the Jeddah Corniche Circuit with a haul of 22 points to continue to extend their gap in the constructors’ championship over their rivals.

Contextually, with no race-sim practices and no significant experience in the car, Bearman only lapped four tenths slower than someone as talented as Charles Leclerc. That’s with him needing to come through traffic after starting nine places lower than what his teammate managed in qualifying.

It means that Ferrari will have a very strong driver in the future, aged just 18, and Bearman will no doubt have the motivation to kick on into his F1 career with a strong performance in Formula 2.

Meanwhile, Max Verstappen won the race by 13 seconds after a five-second time penalty was applied to Sergio Perez. He was 18 seconds ahead of Leclerc and then came Oscar Piastri, Fernando Alonso, George Russell, Bearman, Lando Norris, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Hulkenberg to close out the top 10.

It’s a very important point for Hulkenberg and Haas after Lance Stroll crashed out in the early stages considering that the five teams behind Aston Martin are not close to them on pace so points opportunities will be rare throughout 2024.

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