Ferrari Rookie Oliver Bearman Scores Points on First-Ever F1 Race

The 18-year-old finished seventh, ahead of Norris and Hamilton.

byNico DeMattia|


What were you doing at 18 years old? I can tell what I most certainly wasn't doing. I wasn't scoring points in a Formula 1 grand prix, ahead of established drivers like Lando Norris and seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton. However, that's exactly what Ferrari rookie Oliver Bearman did yesterday when he stood in for Carlos Sainz.

On Friday, Sainz was diagnosed with appendicitis and had to undergo emergency surgery, which meant rookie reserve driver Bearman had to step into Sainz's seat. Bearman was originally ready to race in Formula 2, after having qualified in pole position on Thursday, before being notified of his first-ever Formula 1 start. He was given only an hour of practice time in the Ferrari SF-24 before qualifying for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Despite his almost non-existent practice time, Bearman qualified in P11 on the grid, ahead of veteran drivers like Alex Albon, Daniel Ricciardo, and Pierre Gasly. The British teenager then went on to secure a seventh-place finish in Saudi Arabia, gaining four positions throughout the race, in front of Norris, Hamilton, and Haas' Nico Hulkenberg.

Hamilton (Left), Bearman (Center), Leclerc (Right). Getty

How did Bearman feel after scoring points in his first-ever F1 race? “Destroyed," he said after the race. "Physically it was a really difficult race! Especially in the end, when I had the two guys on soft behind me, I had to basically push flat out and it was a mentally difficult race as expected, and physically I was struggling too, but great fun out there.”

Bearman left an impression on his new peers, including his teammate Charles Leclerc. "He has been incredible," Leclerc told Sky Sports. "I remember on Friday watching the first three laps of Ollie in the garage and I was like, 'oh my god.' He was very close to the walls and pushing like crazy and he has been at ease with the car from the beginning."

Hamilton was also waiting for Bearman after the race, giving the young driver a hug and some words of encouragement after he got out of his Ferrari.

It's unclear if Sainz will be recovered enough to race in the Australian Grand Prix on March 24. Ferrari team boss Fred Vasseur told the media following the race that Sainz will need to be fully recovered to race in Melbourne. However, if Sainz can't go, Bearman will get another chance to prove himself in F1.

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