Oliver Bearman reacts to classy Lewis Hamilton moment on Saudi Arabia cooldown lap

Jamie Woodhouse
Lewis Hamilton and Oliver Bearman on the grid in Saudi Arabia.

Lewis Hamilton and Oliver Bearman.

Oliver Bearman said it was “really kind” of Lewis Hamilton to applaud him from the Mercedes cockpit after a stunning Ferrari debut at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz was taken to hospital on Friday morning and underwent successful surgery after being diagnosed with appendicitis, opening the door for Ferrari’s 18-year-old reserve driver Bearman to make his Formula 1 debut.

Lewis Hamilton applauds and embraces Oliver Bearman

Bearman had been preparing to go racing in Formula 2 at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, having secured pole position for the feature race, but suddenly found himself stepping up to F1 with just one hour of practice at the wheel of the Ferrari SF-24 before it was time for qualifying.

Bearman narrowly missed out on a top-10 grid slot and his impressive outing continued on race day, as he kept out of reach of a charging Lando Norris and Hamilton on soft tyres to secure a P7 finish.

And on the cooldown lap, Hamilton could be seen applauding Bearman and giving his younger compatriot the thumbs up as he drove past in his Mercedes, Sky F1 replaying the footage to Bearman post-race.

“Ah that’s really kind, that’s really nice,” Bearman reacted.

Hamilton was also waiting in the pit lane to give Bearman a congratulatory hug after he had climbed out of the Ferrari, Bearman saying Hamilton was one of his heroes growing up as he spoke of his love for the McLaren team when Hamilton and Jenson Button were team-mates in an all-British line-up.

Asked if Hamilton was his hero growing up, Bearman replied: “One of them.

“I really liked the McLaren team in 2011/12, so Lewis and Jenson they were my favourites. The British team with the home heroes.

“It was great watching them growing up and now I’m racing against Lewis, that was fantastic.”

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Sainz was remarkably back in the Ferrari garage on Saturday to watch the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, as he begins his recovery with a free weekend coming before Round 3 as Albert Park hosts the Australian Grand Prix.

Bearman admits it is not up to him to determine whether he will get a second Ferrari outing there, but hopes Sainz will be healthy and good to go by then.

“Carlos is looking well, so I’m glad he’s having a good recovery,” said Bearman. “At the end, it’s not my decision to make.

“If he feels good, and I hope he does, then he’ll be in the car in Melbourne. At the end it’s his car, it’s his championship, so I hope the best for him.”

If not back on Ferrari duties, then Bearman will nonetheless still be in F2 action at Albert Park.

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