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Ferrari junior Bearman, who was the F2 polesitter for Saudi Arabia’s feature race, was called up by the team ahead of Friday’s FP3 to replace Carlos Sainz, who dropped out with appendicitis.

Bearman immediately impressed in his single practice session before qualifying 11th, and the 18-year-old Briton backed that up with an exemplary race to seventh on Saturday.

Bearman’s debut received universal praise by his peers, with the likes of Hamilton, George Russell and Lando Norris all coming over to congratulate him in parc ferme, while team-mate Charles Leclerc was also impressed with his performance.
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Bearman says Hamilton had to help him out of his car after racing on one of F1’s most demanding circuits and was appreciative of the recognition he received by some of his idols.

“I grew up watching these guys fighting and it was nice to share the track with them,” Bearman said. “It was a pleasure to have their recognition.

“[Lewis] was basically pulling me out of the car because I was struggling.

“It was really physical. In a race like this – one of the lowest-degradation tracks of the season and one of the highest lateral G – you are pretty much doing 50 qualifying laps.”

Oliver Bearman, Ferrari SF-24

Oliver Bearman, Ferrari SF-24

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

As Ferrari’s reserve driver, which included private testing as well as FP1 and testing duties with Haas, Bearman was sufficiently prepared to jump in at short notice.

But what impressed the paddock the most was his calm and composed demeanour. He didn’t buckle during an intense start and first-lap melee and properly found his groove during the second stint on hard tyres, keeping up with the drivers ahead of him.

When asked if he felt any nerves at the start, he replied: “Honestly, surprisingly it felt like any other race.

“The procedure is a bit different to F2 race start, but once the lights were on you were focusing on what is around you.

“Luckily the F4 radios weren’t broadcast, but in F3 I was a bit more irate and I’ve learnt over the years that doesn’t bring any performance.

“No matter what I tried to stay calm, especially in a situation like this. We knew the race was going to come towards us so I stayed calm and let it come.

Nico Hulkenberg, Haas VF-24 battles with Oliver Bearman, Ferrari SF-24

Nico Hulkenberg, Haas VF-24 battles with Oliver Bearman, Ferrari SF-24

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

“On the restart I did a pretty good move on [Tsunoda] and I don’t think he expect me to cover the inside.

“I had a lot more pace than these guys and they were just a bit smarter than me with energy usage, which is something I’ve never had to do before.

“I was pretty much learning on the job. Especially with Nico, he seemed to use his battery in all the right places and I seemed to use it in all the wrong places, so it took me a few laps to figure it out.

“I stayed disciplined and didn’t try to overpush.”

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