Saudi Arabia GP result: Oliver Bearman the 'Special One' with stunning drive on Ferrari debut

At this rate, he will be able to win his fourth straight championship in record time – assuming he doesn't leave the team before then. Red Bull remains as chaotic off the track as they are assured of, although Verstappen said he hoped the drama could be put behind him. “I have always said that it is important that we stay together as a team,” he emphasized afterwards at his press conference. “Hopefully that will be the case from now on.”

Verstappen had started the race so relaxed that he stayed up after 3 a.m. local time on Saturday morning to game with other livestreamers on Twitch.

Bearman provided welcome relief from that saga. His story of becoming the youngest Briton ever to compete in a Formula 1 Grand Prix was a wonderful feel-good story.

He also had to fend off challenges from two of his more illustrious compatriots. McLaren's Norris and Mercedes' Hamilton both pushed him hard in the final stint as they fought back for new tires on reverse strategies after late pit stops. But after initially taking chunks out of Bearman's advantage, their ties began to fade, and Norris and Hamilton were left fighting among themselves for eighth place rather than challenging the teenager.

It was another frustrating race for Mercedes. Russell finished sixth and Hamilton ninth behind Bearman and Norris. Hamilton said the team had to make “major changes” to the car. “It was like I was in a different category when I was going through the high speed compared to the other guys around me,” he said.

Not surprisingly, he was grinning from ear to ear.

“A little tired,” Bearman admitted of how he felt at the end of what was by far the longest race of his career. 'You can probably tell I don't look my best. But it was a fantastic race, where we pushed ourselves to the limit. Especially at the end, when the two guys came towards me on soft tires. I couldn't really do it, but it was a very exciting and fun race.

“The countdown seemed to be slower than normal. I think we succeeded [the final stint] very good.”

Bearman, who was voted driver of the day by the fans, added: “I think I did my fastest lap on the last lap. It was a lot of fun and I felt a good confidence. I was building up the whole race… I felt like I could really push. There is a little more to overtaking in F1 than in F2. It's just very difficult to follow… to get so close to these walls, one second away from the guy in front, is difficult, it requires more precision.”

It certainly won't be long before we see Bearman in a Formula 1 race again. “A star is born,” Hill concluded. “Oliver Bearman, to jump in at such short notice, at a track as intimidating as Jeddah, in a Ferrari of all things, and hold up under the immense pressure from Lando and Lewis and keep it together . Wow.”

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix: as it happened

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