Teen Backup Shocks F1 Field In Saudi GP

Max Verstappen won a record-tying ninth F1 race in a row at Saturday’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. However, 18-year-old Ollie Bearman stole the show with a seventh-place finish while standing in for Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz. In MotoGP, rookie Pedro Acosta impressed fans by going wheel-to-wheel with future hall-of-famer Marc Márquez. It’s Monday, March 11, 2024 and this is Racing Recap, your summary of last weekend’s motorsports action.

Bearman Finishes Seventh In Debut

Oliver Bearman of Great Britain driving the (38) Ferrari SF-24 and Kevin Magnussen of Denmark driving the (20) Haas F1 VF-24 Ferrari battle for track position during the F1 Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia at Jeddah Corniche Circuit on March 09, 2024 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Photo: Clive Rose (Getty Images)

The F1 weekend in Jeddah was thrown a curveball after Sainz was diagnosed with appendicitis after participating in Thursday’s practice sessions. The Spaniard needed surgery and was out for the rest of the event. Ferrari opted to use Bearman, the team’s reserve driver. The young British driver currently competes in Formula 2 and was both German and Italian Formula 4 champion in 2021.

Bearman performed tremendously despite the short notice. He only had a single practice session to acclimate himself and was nearly fast enough to make Q3, the pole-deciding segment of qualifying. In the race, Bearman kept his cool, made no major mistakes and crossed the finish line seven. He bested the likes of his more accomplished compatriots, Lando Norris and seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton.

Bearman’s composure under monumental pressure didn’t go unnoticed. He won the Driver of the Day award with 48.3 percent of the public vote. Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur told F1’s website:

“He was very calm in his approach from the beginning. This was a huge asset for the weekend because you know, you have the pressure, you are reminding him of all the points of the story, that he is the youngest [driver] for Ferrari blah blah blah, and for him, for sure it’s a huge pressure.”

“But at the end of the day, I think he was able to skip it from his mind and focus on the real point and he was – I think a clear target for him, my understanding of this was that he wasn’t focused on details, but on the big topic and in the end it went well.”

While Bearman still has the rest of the F2 season to contest, it’s difficult not to pencil him in for a 2025 race seat at Haas, a Ferrari-partnered team.

Race Results

1. – Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
2. – Sergio Perez (Red Bull) – +13.643 seconds
3. – Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) – +18.639 seconds
4. – Oscar Piastri (McLaren) – +32.007 seconds
5. – Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin) – +35.759 seconds

Acosta And Marquez Go Wheel-To-Wheel In MotoGP

Image for article titled Teen Backup Shocks F1 Field In Saudi GP

Photo: Gold & Goose / Red Bull Content Pool

The 2024 MotoGP season started how the previous season ended, with world champion Francesco Bagnaia crossing the line first to win the Qatar Grand Prix. However, the two biggest driver moves of the offseason were immediately impactful on-track. Marc Márquez almost finished on the podium in his first race on a Gresini Ducati, while the highest-finishing Honda was 12th.

Pedro Acosta, rookie phenom and Moto2 champion, set the fastest lap and gave Márquez a decent challenge during the race. The Gas Gas rider’s debut showed how much potential he has while proving the hype around him is justified. However, Acosta’s inexperience led to him mismanaging his tires, sinking through the field and finishing 9th.

Race Results

1. – Francesco Bagnaia (Ducatil)
2. – Brad Binder (KTMl) – +1.329 seconds
3. – Jorge Martín (Pramac) – +1.933 seconds
4. – Marc Márquez (Gresini) – +3.429 seconds
5. – Enea Bastianini (Ducati) – +5.153 seconds

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