Record breaking British Formula 1 rookie Oliver Bearman, 18, has dream debut in Saudi Grand Prix

Ferrari stand-in Oliver Bearman has completed a dream debut with a seventh-place finish at the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix.

The 18-year-old British rookie was called in at the last minute to replace Carlos Sainz, after the Spaniard was diagnosed with appendicitis, requiring surgery.

Bearman, who only had an hour of practice under his belt and a qualifying appearance - as he normally drives Formula 2 - started in 11th place, working his way into the points by overtaking Yuki Tsunoda, Zhou Guanyu and Nico Hulkenberg.

On worn tyres, he managed to hold on to keep Britain's Lando Norris and seven-time F1 champion Lewis Hamilton at bay, finishing the 50-lap race in seventh place, becoming the youngest Briton to start or finish a Formula 1 race and the third-youngest driver from any country to start an F1 race.

Afterwards, a beaming Bearman said: "I didn't have time to get nervous or to overthink it.

"I was focused on what to do and didn't have time to think about the gravity of the situation, and that was probably a good thing.

"On Monday, I will feel it and I will be quite proud.

"I'm sure when I step back, I'll pinch myself.

"My phone is going crazy but I will have a look at it tonight," he added.

The Chelmsford youngster was voted by fans as driver of the day and his performance also drew praise from his rivals.

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc described him as "incredible", adding: "It's hugely impressive and I'm sure he's extremely proud.

"Everybody has noticed how talented he is and I'm sure it's just a matter of time before he's in F1."

Hamilton said Bearman had done a "mega, mega job", adding: "I am really impressed and it just shows what a talent he is."

And the day's winner, Max Verstappen, who was 17 when he made his debut nine years ago, said Bearman had been "very, very impressive".

"I watched his first few laps in practice, because that is where you can judge if someone is comfortable in the car, and by lap two or three I thought 'that is a strong start', and to be 11th, and only six tenths off pole at the time, is more than you could have asked for.

"He has done an incredible job."

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Verstappen's win provided a brief distraction from the ongoing saga involving his team Red Bull Racing.

Boss Christian Horner, who has been principal of the team since it entered F1 in 2005, was recently cleared of allegations of inappropriate behaviour towards a female colleague after an investigation by its Austrian parent company Red Bull GmbH.

The 50-year-old British boss has always denied the claims but the controversy has rumbled on after a file of hundreds of leaked WhatsApp messages was sent to key figures within the sport from an anonymous email account.

It is not clear whether the messages were included in the misconduct investigation and whether they are genuine.

Verstappen's second win of the season followed speculation over whether he would remain at Red Bull, after his father said the team was "in danger of being torn apart" if Horner remained in charge.

Verstappen hinted on Friday that he may reconsider his future with the team if his mentor Helmut Marko were to leave.

Marko told Sky Sport on Saturday that he would be staying.

"I always said that, what is most important is that we work together as a team and that everyone keeps the peace," Verstappen said after the race.

"And that's what we, I think, we all agree on, within the team. So hopefully from now onwards that is also fully the case and everyone is trying to focus in the same direction. And I think the positive out of all this is that it didn't hurt our performances, so it's a very strong team."