Formula 1

Formula 1: Bearman scores points on debut as Verstappen wins 9 on the bounce

Feature Image credit: @ScuderiaFerrari

Ollie Bearman has scored points after finishing 7th on his F1 debut, whilst Verstappen wins his 9th consecutive win.

Sergio Perez got off the line well at the race and attempt to make a move on the outside of Charles Leclerc, but as they came out of the opening chicane, Leclerc was able to carry enough momentum to keep himself ahead of the Red Bull driver.

Further back and Pierre Gasly wasn’t even able to complete the first lap, as he became the fist person to retire from a race this season after falling victim to a suspected gearbox issue.

Lando Norris was accused by George Russell as having jumped the start of the race, and whilst replays showed that his car may have moved before lights went out, the stewards ultimately decided not to action the McLaren driver. Norris would find himself under threat by Russell in the opening laps, demonstrating early in the race that the McLaren possessed worse straight line speed compared to the Mercedes, though Russell was unable to overtake at this stage.

The start of lap 2 saw Oscar Piastri make a move up to 4th on Fernando Alonso. At the same time, Bearman looked close to colliding with Yuki Tsunoda after a minor lockup whilst attempting the overtake.

Lance Stroll crashed out of the race after turning in too early at the turn 22-23 chicane, bringing out the safety car. This allowed for the majority of the grid to pit onto new hard tyres, which were expected to carry the drivers to the end of the race despite the early stop due to the circuit’s low degradation levels.

There were a few drivers who had been made to stay out. Lando Norris led the race after staying out of the pits, with the team not wanting to double stack and have the Brit lose multiple positions. It was the same reasoning as to why Lewis Hamilton stayed out and rose to third.

When green flag running resumed, Norris was able to hold off Verstappen for a couple of laps, but doing this long term was never a realistic option. At the same time as Perez passed Hamilton for third, Norris would be overtaken by Verstappen for the lead on lap 13. Perez would also overtake Norris a couple of laps later to round out a comfortable Red Bull 1-2.

Bearman had began his charge up the field, having managed to get past Tsunoda on lap 11, and was now in the points after passing Zhou Guanyu on lap 14, who had stayed out under the safety car. Another driver who stayed out was Nico Hulkenberg, who Bearman would then go on to overtake on lap 21 after a close battle with the German.

Two other drivers who were fighting closely was Hamilton and Piastri. Despite being on older tyres and being noticeably weak in the higher speed corners, Hamilton was able to repel attacks from the young Australian for quite some time, with Piastri even making a couple of overeager moves down into turn 1, which resulted in him going off track and having to return the position.

Kevin Magnussen’s race was effectively over after receiving two separate 10 second penalties in the space of a few laps, one for causing a collision with Albon and another for overtaking whilst gaining an advantage off track, and failing to give the position back. However, using the Haas’ strong straight line capabilities, he soon found himself gaining a train of trailing cars unable to overtake him. This worked out well for the team, as he was able to help build a gap for Hulkenberg to pit into and stay within the points, which would eventually happen on lap 35, with the German coming out of the pits with roughly two seconds spare to his teammate behind.

The battle with Piastri ended successfully for Hamilton once he pulled into the pits on lap 36. However, Hamilton’s attention would now be on the other McLaren of Lando Norris, who would himself pit on lap 38, with the two now hoping to chase Ollie Bearman, who at this point had climbed to 7th.

Hamilton was able to stick close to Norris for multiple laps, with the McLaren’s straight line deficiencies allowing the Mercedes to stay in range, despite being significantly better in sector one.

The gap to Bearman had began to tick down, but so had the lap counter, and as the race continued, the levels by which Norris and Hamilton gained on their fellow countryman faded. Eventually, Norris was able to build a gap to Hamilton behind, but was still a couple of seconds adrift of Bearman, who finishes his first F1 grand prix in 7th, scoring 6 championship points.

Max Verstappen was joined on the podium by Sergio Perez and Charles Leclerc. It is the Dutchman’s 9th win in a row, the second time he has achieved such a feat. If he should win the Australian Grand Prix in two weeks time, he shall tie his own record of most consecutive grand prix wins with 10.

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