Leclerc makes Bearman F1 prediction following ‘incredible’ debut

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Charles Leclerc believes Ferrari’s rookie driver Oliver Bearman “completely deserves” his debut top 10 finish at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Eighteen-year-old Bearman was called up ahead of the third practice session to replace Carlos Sainz, who underwent surgery following an appendicitis diagnosis, and missed out on Q3 by just the narrowest of marginsie to qualify 11th on debut.

He converted this into seventh-place at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit after a drive that saw him match stint pace with Mercedes’ George Russell, finishing ahead of the likes of Lando Norris and seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton.

“He completely deserves it,” said Leclerc.

“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.

“He’s been incredible. Seventh in your first Formula 1 race and he only got in the car in FP3. It’s just hugely impressive. So 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 in Formula 1.”

‘Boring race’

In terms of Leclerc’s own race, the Monégasque started in second but was quickly overtaken by Sergio Perez. Norris also got ahead on the sixth lap, after the Ferrari driver pitted during the race’s only safety car period.

Leclerc soon got back past the McLaren driver though, and finished in a lonely third.

“We had quite a good pace because we got the fastest lap at the end,” Leclerc said. “I got a bit of help from DRS, but overall, the feeling was pretty good.

“It was a bit of a boring race because Red Bull were a bit too quick. And behind we had a bit of a gap. But we took the maximum points we could today. And that the target, so that’s great.”

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