Bearman reflects on beating Lewis Hamilton and his future F1 chances

The 18-year-old debutant finished seventh in his first F1 race

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Oliver Bearman produced an exceptional Formula 1 debut at the 2024 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix that saw him finish seventh to beat Lewis Hamilton and Lando Norris, but he remained humble as he conceded the Ferrari had superior speed to the Mercedes and the McLarens.

He also added that he does not expect to be in the car for the 2024 Australian GP and said that he hopes Carlos Sainz has a good recovery after surgery for appendicitis, which caused him to drop out of the weekend to begin with.

Bearman then stepped into the car after taking pole position for the feature race in Formula 2. He had just one practice session in suboptimal conditions to familiarise himself with the qualifying pace of the car and he had no time for long runs either.

Despite that, he kept himself in with a chance of points throughout qualifying and the race and eventually maximised what he could as he beat Norris and Hamilton to the line by three and five seconds respectively.

Well, we also had a faster car today, so that helps,” Bearman said on beating Hamilton to the line. “The car was flying today so that’s obviously a big bonus.

“But I think we executed a clean race, no mistakes, and that’s exactly what we were looking for so I’m happy with my performance.”

Will Bearman be back for Australia?

Bearman was earning himself plenty of praise and plaudits in the process throughout the weekend from a series of talented and experienced F1 heads.

Charles Leclerc particularly praised the 18-year-old and on the cool down lap, Hamilton was spotted waving to him and giving him the thumbs up in recognition of a good result from a physically tough race.

With such an impressive cameo, could he be given the nod for the Australian GP on March 24 so that Sainz isn’t forced into rushing his recovery? Bearman doesn’t think so.

“Honestly, I’m not sure,” Bearman said to media after the race. “Carlos seems to be recovering really well and I’m happy for him.

“Because at the end of the day, that’s his car, his championship. So, I think he’ll be fine and I hope he’s good as well.”

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