Only a matter of time until Bearman gets F1 seat – Leclerc

Charles Leclerc says Ollie Bearman has proven it is only a matter of time before he gets a full-time seat in Formula 1 after finishing seventh on his Ferrari debut at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Bearman was called up as a last-minute replacement for Carlos Sainz as the Spaniard required surgery on Friday morning after being diagnosed with appendicitis, leaving the 18-year-old just one practice session before he took part in qualifying. Starting from 11th after missing Q3 by less than 0.04s, Bearman drove an impressive race to climb to seventh ahead of Lando Norris and Lewis Hamilton, scoring points on debut and catching the eye of his temporary teammate.

“It’s incredibly difficult [to do],” Leclerc said. “He’s been extremely impressive. Extremely impressive. I think everybody has seen that. Obviously having him in the same garage, seeing how he worked and how he approached this whole situation with so much calm was very, very impressive. Obviously with so much excitement as well, but it was really impressive.


“I think he has shown the whole paddock what he was capable of, and I think after a performance like that, it’s a matter of time before we see him permanently in the Formula 1 paddock.

“He completely deserves [driver of the day]. He’s done an incredible job. From FP3 he was straight on the pace, in qualifying he did a great job and missed Q3 by so little, and I think today he’s been incredible. I mean, seventh on your first race in Formula 1, having done only FP3, in a new car, it’s just hugely impressive. I’m sure he’s extremely proud but everybody has noticed how talented he is and I guess it’s just a matter of time before he comes here to Formula 1.”

Leclerc’s sentiments were echoed by George Russell, who along with his teammate Lewis Hamilton were among the first to congratulate Bearman on his performance when he jumped out of the car in parc ferme.

“He did an amazing job,” Russell said. “Coming in at a circuit like this, as well, is extremely difficult, and he exceeded everybody’s expectations. I’ve followed him briefly in the past, but I think he caught a lot of people by surprise, and that was a [big] result for him.

“It’s extremely difficult, but if you’ve got the speed and the talent, then it’s another race car. He clearly had the confidence straight from the off, pushing the car to the limit. So yeah, respect to him for the job he’s done, and fully expect to see him on the grid next year or the year after.”

Story originally appeared on Racer