Bearman not satisfied with qualifying P11 on debut at F1 Saudi Arabian GP: “It was a messy session for me”

Photo Credit: Scuderia Ferrari
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Oliver Bearman is the talk of the paddock following a crazy Friday for the British youngster. The 18-year-old was suddenly called up as Carlos Sainz required surgery on his appendix after feeling unwell since Wednesday.

The Formula 2 driver had taken pole position for the feature race in his Prema, but his weekend plans suddenly changed on Friday morning.

Bearman placed P10 in FP3. Qualifying was a rollercoaster of emotions for his father in the Ferrari garage.

Understandably there was a few mistakes during it as he looked to get to the limit of the car. Ultimately he missed out on Q3 by 0.036s as Bearman almost sensationally knocked out fellow Brit Lewis Hamilton on his F1 debut.

Ferrari’s youngest ever Grand Prix driver talked about his incredible day, admitting he was not completely happy due to his own errors.

“Yeah, I think waking up this morning I was getting prepared to do an F2 race starting from P10. Now I will start the F1 race from P11.

“So yeah, it was tough because I had no preparation. I just jumped in an FP3 and I was straight there.

“Yeah, overall I’m not that happy because it was so close to Q3 and it was a messy session for me, so a bit disappointed, but what a great opportunity.”

It was a slightly messy Q2 for the British youngster. On his first run, he had a lock-up into turn 4 and had to abandon his run.

On the second attempt, he got on the big kerb at the exit of turn 22 and lost valuable time. But his second lap was a solid improvement, and he missed out by less than half a tenth on advancing to Q3.

He admitted it hurt to be so close to getting through.

“Yeah, it was so close, so close. That’s why it hurts a bit more.

“I made a mistake on my first push, so I had to do it on the second and the tyres aren’t really the best there.

“So my mistake, and I’ll take that one on the chin.”

According to Bearman, one reason for them is the fact he felt he thought there would be a bigger gap in grip between final practice and qualifying. In the end, he finished 0.530s slower than teammate Leclerc in Q2.

“Yeah, it felt amazing [to drive]. I was really pushing it out there, maybe a bit too much, and I probably overestimated the difference in grip from FP3 to quali.

“So yeah, a bit of a scruffy session, a bit too many mistakes, which matters in the end.”

The big test comes later today for the young Brit as he hopes to complete the full race on debut. With extremely limited track time as he only did FP3, long run pace and tyre management is a big unknown for Bearman.

Nonetheless, he is aiming for points.

“Yeah, I mean I did like eight, nine consecutive laps, so not much in the way of high fuel. So a lot to learn overnight.

“Yeah, fingers crossed we can do a good race and hopefully bring back some points.”