Carlos Sainz gives verdict on Ferrari replacement Oliver Bearman

Carlos Sainz returns to Ferrari in Australia after Oliver Bearman's exploits in Saudi Arabia

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Carlos Sainz praised Oliver Bearman‘s performance in the 2024 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix after watching with his Ferrari engineers while recovering from his appendicitis operation.

Bearman only had one free practice session to prepare in place of the Spaniard but almost knocked Lewis Hamilton out of Q2 before backing that up with a strong grand prix performance on his way to seventh.

Bearman finished ahead of compatriots Hamilton and Lando Norris and seemingly confirmed his ascension to a full-time F1 drive in 2025, even leaving some to speculate whether Ferrari made a mistake hiring the seven-time champion to replace Sainz rather than betting on their young academy product.

“Obviously it’s not a nice feeling not to be able to race, especially after such a strong start to the season,” Sainz told the media in Australia. “Seeing how competitive the car was again in Jeddah and doing the calculations of how many points you’ve lost by the surgery.

“And also knowing that even for the next race, you’re not going to be able to go the simulator, not able to prepare for the race or train for 14 days. So it’s not ideal. But I watched the race with my engineers and I think Ollie did great. I think he did a really, really good job.”

Leclerc: A matter of time for Bearman and F1

Race winner Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing (second from right), Second placed Sergio Perez (second from left), Third placed Charles Leclerc of (R) and Jerome Lafarge, Chief Designer at Red Bull (L) celebrate after 2024 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool
Race winner Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing (second from right), Second placed Sergio Perez (second from left), Third placed Charles Leclerc of (R) and Jerome Lafarge, Chief Designer at Red Bull (L) celebrate after 2024 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

After Sainz took the non-Red Bull trophy at the season-opening 2024 Bahrain GP, his absence meant Charles Leclerc was able to take the spoils in Saudi Arabia.

He was comfortably ahead of fourth-placed Oscar Piastri, who led a tight pack down to Hamilton in ninth that included Bearman – with the Monegasque driver the elder statesman in the team despite making his Ferrari debut just five years before.

“He’s been extremely impressive because not having done FP1, FP2 and arriving in FP3, and I was I think what impressed me the most is the first three laps in FP3 where he was together with Lewis and George, straightaway he was very, very fast,” Leclerc added.

“And that shows first how amazing of a talent he is – I think it’s a matter of time before he gets to F1. And I think it’s not to be underestimated how good of a job the team has done to prepare in this kind of situation.

“The simulator is really good and very close compared to reality, obviously all the tests that he has done in Maranello and Fiorano and straightaway you can see that when I first started I was not as ready as what he was.

“And it was not that many years ago but Ferrari has done a great job in preparing him and straightaway he was on the pace which was good to see, obviously scoring points as well so he’s done an incredible job.”

Adam Dickinson
Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, and previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
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