Vasseur “completely impressed” by outstanding debutant Bearman at F1 Saudi Arabian GP

Photo Credit: Scuderia Ferrari
Spread the love

Britain’s Oliver Bearman has had a rollercoaster of a last few days. After getting pole last Thursday in Formula 2, he was called up to replace Carlos Sainz and drive for Scuderia Ferrari in F1 for the rest of the weekend, as the Spaniard was dealing with appendicitis. He was the youngest driver to ever make their F1 debut with the Italian giants.

With barely any running in the car, he qualified in P11. He managed an impressive P7 finish in the race after holding off Lewis Hamilton and Lando Norris at the end of the Grand Prix.

Fred Vasseur, analyzed his weekend, he said that Bearman had a flawless two days. As he debriefed his driver’s weekend, he said that it was a miracle that he went through the weekend without hitting any walls, especially around this tough Jeddah Circuit where the calls are always close.

“I think in this situation – and we’ve had a couple of times good young drivers into the car, not only at Ferrari, but on the grid – I would say the pace is, I don’t want to say easy to have, but it’s something they can achieve,” he said.

“And the fact he did a short weekend without FP1/FP2 without any mistake, for me it’s unrealistic.

“Honestly, I was completely impressed by this in Jeddah, between the walls, skipping FP1/FP2, directly almost in quali.”

Vasseur continued in saying that Bearman’s trajectory over the course of the weekend from FP3 to the race was commendable, especially since he was called in at the very last minute. As well, dealing with the intricacies of F1 for the first time on the fly impressed Vasseur.

“You know the story, we called him, it was something like 2pm on the Friday, to jump into the car for FP3,” the Frenchman recalled. “But it’s not Barcelona, we’re in Jeddah, the challenge was mega.

“He had a very good FP3, he was doing it step by step. In quali, he missed Q3 by a couple of hundredths, and in the race today I was a bit nervous before the race because you have so many things to manage in F1 with the starting procedure, the pitstop, the steering wheel. It was not an easy one.”

The Frenchman also gave praise to the 18-year-old as he held back fellow Brits Norris and Hamilton to secure P7 at the end, since it was difficult to hold off drivers of that caliber, especially with no running in the car. Bearman also set his personal best lap of the race on the final tour.

“At the end he managed it very well,” he said. “If you have a look, he was even able to push on the last lap to keep Lando and Lewis behind him, and I was even surprised myself to ask him to push a little bit more from the pitwall and to not be conservative, because he was not doing a mistake at this stage.”

Finally, Vasseur praised Bearman for dealing with the pressure of F1 and being Ferrari’s youngest-ever driver and focus on the racing. In the end, it paid off for the 18 year-old.

“I think this was a huge asset for the weekend, because you have the pressure, you know that you all remind him of all the points of the story, that he’s the youngest driver at Ferrari blah blah blah, and for him for sure it was a huge pressure.

“But, at the end of the day, I think he was able to skip it from his mind, and to be focused on the real point.

“And I think he put a clear target for him. My understanding of this is he didn’t pay too much attention to details, he was focused on the big topic and, in the end, it went very well.

“I was scared he could do a mistake on the pitstop or in the starting procedure and so on, as we saw a couple of times in the past with rookies, and he managed it very well.”