Verstappen gets Pole Position as British teenager Oliver Bearman makes Ferrari debut

Max Verstappen topped final practice as British teenager Oliver Bearman made his Ferrari debut ahead of qualifying at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Bearman, 18, has replaced Carlos Sainz for the remainder of the weekend in Jeddah as the Spaniard underwent surgery for appendicitis and is recovering in hospital.

Verstappen and Lance Stroll are the only drivers in F1 history who made their full F1 debut at a younger age and Bearman is Ferrari’s youngest-ever driver. He is also Britain’s youngest F1 driver since the sport began in 1950.

Bearman was one of the first drivers on track and racked up as many miles as possible on the medium tyres, at one point going fastest ahead of Lewis Hamilton, and ended up in 10th place, less than one second behind pace-setter Verstappen.

The reigning world champion, who won the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, set a time of 1:28.412 but did not improve on his final run in the last five minutes following Zhou Guanyu’s big crash at Turns Seven and Eight.

Nearly all drivers had one flying lap at the end after the session was stopped for 10 minutes, as Charles Leclerc went 0.196s slower than Verstappen and Sergio Perez got within half a second.

Qualifying result – Top 10

1) Max Verstappen, Red Bull

2) Charles Leclerc, Ferrari

3) Sergio Perez, Red Bull

4) Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin

5) Oscar Piastri, McLaren

6) Lando Norris, McLaren

7) George Russell, Mercedes

8) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes

9) Yuki Tsunoda, RB

10) Lance Stroll, Aston Martin

Sunday’s Grand Prix in Jeddah starts at 18:00hrs.

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