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Vettel sent Bearman 'good luck' message ahead of Saudi Arabian F1 debut

Oliver Bearman has revealed that he received a ‘good luck’ message from Formula 1 champion Sebastian Vettel prior to his Ferrari substitute appearance in the 2024 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Oliver Bearman, Scuderia Ferrari, in the garage

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

When full-time Scuderia driver Carlos Sainz required surgery for appendicitis, team reserve driver and FIA F2 racer Bearman was called upon to partner Charles Leclerc from FP3 onwards.

The two-time Aston Martin Autosport BRDC Young Driver Award finalist narrowly missed out on a Q3 appearance in qualifying before lining up in 11th. He finished the Jeddah contest in seventh – with Leclerc scoring third – after a string of neatly executed overtakes, most notably dummying RB driver Yuki Tsunoda into Turn 1.

Bearman, 18, was sent many ‘good luck’ and congratulatory messages over the weekend, including from ex-Ferrari driver and four-time F1 world champion Vettel, who retired from racing with Aston Martin at the end of 2022.

The young Brit said: “I did get a lot of congratulations and also good luck messages before the race.

“My favourite one was from Sebastian Vettel. I’m a huge fan of his since the early days. I was, up until he retired, always routing for Seb. So, to get a message from him was really special.

“To know that he was kind of watching put a bit of pressure on, but it was a nice pressure.”

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, in 2019

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali also got in contact. Bearman added: “He sent me a really nice message after the race, which was really happy.

“And I got a hug from Lewis [Hamilton] as well after the race. That was nice that he kind of recognised the race for me. That was a proud moment for myself.”

Bearman also reckoned getting an insight into the level of “admin” involved in racing in F1 has been a major surprise from his cameo appearance.

He continued: “I think the thing that surprised me the most about an F1 weekend was the amount of admin that goes on – there’s so much media activities, so much more technical stuff than we have in F2.

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“So, for a race at 8pm, I was already on track at lunch time to prepare. The days are very, very long, full of hard work. That was a surprise, but a happy one.”

He also praised the accuracy of the Ferrari simulator for allowing him to swiftly adapt to all of the in-car procedures and settings adjustments.

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