‘A star is born!’ – Oliver Bearman seriously impresses in surprise Ferrari debut at Saudi Arabian GP

Sam Cooper
Oliver Bearman smiles in the Ferrari garage.

Oliver Bearman smiles.

Oliver Bearman was hailed as a “star” by Damon Hill after the 18-year-old performed brilliantly in his F1 debut to finish seventh.

The Briton had just one practice session before his F1 race weekend began in earnest and having just missed out on Q3, he impressed even more on race day.

‘Star is born’ Oliver Bearman hailed by Damon Hill

Bearman became just the 68th driver to score points on their F1 debut as he held off late threats of Lando Norris and Lewis Hamilton to cross the line seventh.

Handed Driver of the Day by the fans, praise soon started flooding in for F1’s newest driver.

“Star is born now!” 1996 World Champion Hill tweeted. “Oliver Bearman, to jump in at such short notice, on a track as intimidating as Jeddah, in a Ferrari of all things, and hold up under immense pressure from Lando and Lewis and keep it together. Wow.”

As for Bearman, he seemed rather calm after the race, but admitted it took some time to get used to the differences between an F1 and F2 car.

“It was a fantastic race, [I was] pushing all the way,” he said. “I was shocked at how close we were racing and getting quicker every lap was incredible. Especially at the end when I had the two guys bearing down on me, I couldn’t relax. I was always in my mirrors, pushing flat.

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“The [countdown] seemed like it was going slower than normal but I think we managed it really well. They weren’t really catching behind and I felt like I had a bit if I needed it and a bit of engine mode as well.

“I think I did my fastest lap in the last one. I decided to push and see what I can do. It was really fun and I felt good. Confidence was building through the race, especially coming to the end of the hard stint when I kind of knew what the car was doing underneath me, I felt like I could really push.”

Bearman’s six points along with Charles Leclerc’s podium sees Ferrari on 49 points, behind only Red Bull in the Constructors’ standings.

Read next: Saudi Arabian GP: Another race, another Max Verstappen win, another Red Bull 1-2