Max Verstappen wins again as young Briton Ollie Bearman finishes seventh

Max Verstappen romped to another commanding win at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, as rookie British teenager Ollie Bearman completed a dream debut by beating Lewis Hamilton to finish a brilliant seventh.

Despite threatening to quit Red Bull just 24 hours previously, following another twist in the ongoing Red Bull saga, Verstappen followed his win at the season-opening round in Bahrain last Saturday with another comfortable triumph in his all-conquering machine – remarkably his 19th in 20 appearances.

Sergio Perez completed a one-two finish for Red Bull, with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc third.

But for Bearman, just three months old when Hamilton made his debut in 2007, this will be a night he will never forget.

Handed his shock debut as an 11th-hour stand-in for Carlos Sainz, the boy from Chelmsford, 18 years, 10 months and one day, drove into the record books as the youngest British driver to start a Formula One race.

Standing at 6ft 3in, the streaky teen followed in the footsteps of British greats’ Mike Hawthorn and John Surtees by racing for the scarlet team – and the first Englishman to do so since Nigel Mansell 34 years ago.

Bearman appeared at ease before the start, smiling with his engineers and grinning from ear-to-ear as he addressed the Sky cameras before taking his position between Yuki Tsunoda and Kevin Magnussen at the front of the grid for the national anthem.

With just one hour of practice under his belt, and a qualifying appearance – labelled incredible by Verstappen – Bearman, starting 11th, was just moments away from competing against the best 19 drivers in the world.

As the lights flicked from red to green, Bearman was slower away that he would have liked but made up for it by being aggressive on his brakes and hanging on to 11th place, despite a slight detour off the track.

Ollie Bearman had another memorable day (Darko Bandic/AP)
+2
View gallery

Ollie Bearman had another memorable day (Darko Bandic/AP)

TRENDING

Heartstopping moment worshippers hold down alleged ‘smiling stabber’

29k viewing now

Coachella is being shunned by music lovers and overrun by influencers

20.5k viewing now

Patsy Kensit on the most ‘erotic’ experience of her life with Bowie

10.4k viewing now

Up front and Verstappen had no trouble in keeping Leclerc at bay. Midway through the opening lap he was already 1.3 seconds clear of the chasing pack.

On lap seven, Lance Stroll put his Aston Martin in the barrier. The Canadian broke his suspension by clipping the armco on the entry to Turn 21 before slamming into the tyre barrier on the opposing side of the track.

Out came the safety car and in came the leaders – bar Norris and Hamilton – for fresh rubber.

Bearman, forced to wait as other cars drove by him as he was stationary, dropped three places to 12th.

Norris led when the race resumed, only for Verstappen to swoop past three laps later. Rookie Bearman was also on the move.

He immediately despatched of Tsunoda for 11th and was in a point-scoring position on lap 14 after he swatted aside Zhou for 10th.

You are doing a mega job out there

Ollie Bearman’s engineer Riccardo Adami

Up next was Haas’ Nico Hulkenberg – and Bearman was not mincing his words.

“Mate he is so slow,” said the 18-year-old of Hulkenberg, the German double his age and in his 205th Formula One start.

And on lap 21 he eased past the Haas driver for ninth, with George Russell only 5.6 sec up the road.

Bearman’s engineer Riccardo Adami was swiftly on the radio. “You are doing a mega job out there,” he said. It was hard to disagree.

Norris and Hamilton, both out of strategy sync after electing not to pit behind the safety car, stopped for fresh tyres and Bearman was now seventh and ahead of both of his countrymen.

When Norris stopped on lap 37 of 50, Bearman was 6.1 seconds up the road. Hamilton, was seven seconds adrift.

Lewis Hamilton finished behind Bearman (PA)
+2
View gallery

Lewis Hamilton finished behind Bearman (PA)

“At this pace will Norris catch us or not?” asked the teenager on the radio.

“We might have a chance to stay ahead of both of them,” came the reply from the Ferrari pit wall.

The lap counter ticked down but Bearman showed maturity way beyond his years to hold on to seventh place. McLaren’s Oscar Piastri took fifth ahead of Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso and Mercedes’ Russell.

Bearman took the chequered flag just 5.7 sec behind Russell and comfortably ahead of Norris and Hamilton.

It is only a matter of time before he is in Formula One

Charlec Leclerc on Ollie Bearman

“He has done an incredible job,” said Leclerc of Bearman, who was voted by the fans as the driver of the day.

“He was straight on the pace. Seventh in your first race in a new Formula One car is hugely impressive.

“I am sure he is extremely proud and everyone has noticed how talented he is. It is only a matter of time before he is in Formula One.”

Related Posts

Oleksandr Usyk changed tactics by defeating Tyson Fury, but the Gypsy King faces an uncertain future after losing the first time… will he seek a rematch or REDUCE?

The cruellest cut of all is that the odds against Tyson Fury ever becoming the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world are now far longer than the slenderest of…

King Charles is ‘heartbroken’ at Harry & Meghan saga as he marks ‘bittersweet’ 1-year on the throne, says royal expert

TODAY marks one year since Charles became King and his regal Coronation was televised around the world.While the day is undoubtedly a momentous memory in his mind,…

ROYAL DRAMA Prince Harry ‘doesn’t really exist’ to William as he ‘doesn’t have room in his soul’

Prince Harry and Prince William have been embroiled in a bitter family feud since before the Duke of Sussex stepped down. Prince Harry described his difficult relationship…

King Charles’ ‘homemade’ gift for Prince Archie’s 5th birthday revealed after Meghan Markle ‘bans expensive presents’

KING Charles may not have seen his grandson Archie on his fifth birthday, but that didn’t stop him from sending him a sweet ‘homemade’ gift.Prince Harry and Meghan Markle likely…

Princess Kate ‘excited’ by landmark report that could boost UK economy by £45bn annually

Leading businesses have endorsed Princess Kate’s prioritisation of early childhood in a bid to deliver a rallying call to fellow business leaders across the country. Princess Kate…

Inside Archie’s lavish 5th birthday with cake made by Meghan, superhero theme & Hamleys toy from Charles, expert claims

PRINCE ARCHIE turns five today and he will likely be celebrating with his family in Montecito, California. The Sun spoke exclusively to royal commentator Ingrid Seward about how Prince Harry and Meghan…