Oliver Bearman could race in Australia GP with Carlos Sainz ‘not 100% fit’

Oliver Bearman made his F1 debut with Ferrari at the Saudi Arabia GP (Photo: Getty)

Oliver Bearman may be racing in Formula 1 again this weekend after Carlos Sainz admitted he was ‘not 100 per cent’ ahead of the Australian Grand Prix.

18-year-old Bearman made his F1 debut at the last race in Saudi Arabia, standing in at the last minute for Sainz after the Ferrari star underwent surgery for appendicitis.

Despite his tender age and lack of experience, the teenager greatly impressed, finishing seventh ahead of Lando Norris and Sir Lewis Hamilton, and was even voted Driver of the Day by fans.

In the build-up to the race in Melbourne, Ferrari announced that they expected Sainz to be back behind the wheel, with Bearman back on reserve duty.

The British driver will be at the Albert Park street circuit anyway as he is also competing in Formula 2 this year.

However, he may yet get another call from Ferrari, after Sainz admitted that he wasn’t fully fit, saying on Thursday: ‘Since I’ve been in Australia, I’ve made excellent progress, feeling better day by day and I’m ready to get in the car.

‘I also spoke to Alex [Albon, Williams driver] who went through a similar situation two years ago and, although I’m not 100 per cent, I expect to be able to drive.

F1 Grand Prix of Australia - Previews

Carlos Sainz appears to have recovered from appendicitis (Photo: Getty)

‘I put together a very strong recovery plan since I landed back home to be ready for this race. I will jump in the car tomorrow and see how I feel. I’m feeling positive about it.

‘But obviously, I’m not stupid. If I don’t feel good tomorrow, I will be the first one to raise my hand and say that I need another two weeks to the next race. They are monitoring my progress.

‘I’m the first one that doesn’t want to be in pain or to suffer, to make it any worse. I’m not stupid, and I will be very clear with how I’m feeling and everything.’

Lewis Hamilton showered Bearman with praise after his impressive debut (Photo: Getty)

The Spaniard will be desperate to get back racing as he is currently driving for his career, with the 29-year-old leaving Ferrari at the end of the season to make way for Hamilton.

He finished third in the season opener in Bahrain and will be aiming for the podium in Australia with Ferrari appearing to be the second-fastest team on the grid behind Red Bull.

Many drivers have been full of praise for Bearman after he delivered a good performance at such late notice and at such a young age, with the Brit the third-youngest driver in F1 history behind only Max Verstappen and Lance Stroll.

‘Ollie? Really, really good job,’ Sainz added.

‘I agree with Charles [Leclerc] that it’s also thanks to the way these drivers are prepared nowadays with the amount of simulator time and the amount of testing that we do with the old cars.

‘It’s also possible to do what he did thanks to that, but under pressure with only FP3, he got things done really well and did great.’

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