Ollie Bearman: Lucky numbers, Messi and Youtube - seven surprises about Ferrari's new F1 star

Oliver Bearman in Ferrari overalls.
Credit: PA
Oliver Bearman became the youngest Brit ever to race in Formula One at the weekend Credit: PA

When Oliver Bearman lined up his Ferrari on the starting grid in Saudi Arabia on Saturday he became the youngest ever Brit to compete in a Formula 1 grand prix - and the third youngest ever in the history of the sport.

Stepping in to the cockpit of the Prancing Horse vacated by Carlos Sainz, undergoing surgery for appendicitis, the Ferrari test driver picked up championship points and won over an army of admirers.

It led former F1 world champion, Damon Hill to proclaim "a star is born".

But who really is the sport's latest protégé?

Here, ITV News gives you the racing line on Ollie Bearman, one of Formula One's rising stars.

Ollie Bearman is the youngest and one of the lightest drivers in the paddock Credit: Haas/PA

1. Bearman races with the number 87 on his cars

The reason? It's the number that his dad, David, used in club racing.

His father chose it because Ollie Bearman was born on the 8 May and his second son Thomas was born on 7 August.

The Ferrari driver's younger brother now also competes in karting and races with the same number.

Ollie Bearman, his brother Thomas and father, David have all raced under the number 87. Credit: David Bearman/Instagram

2. He's a YouTuber

He has his own Youtube channel - Ollie_Bearman - which has over 25,000 followers.

The 18-year-old has posted 28 videos so far - mainly about his travels and training within motorsport - which have amassed more than half a million views.

He has a series called the Bear Necessities and in the latest episode the Chelmsford native goes searching for a new cologne for the summer in his adopted hometown of Modena in Italy.

He tries to speak to the manager in Italian... but admits to the camera operator he needs to practice more.

Ollie Bearman has a Youtube channel in which he shares moments of his life in motorsport and as a British teenager living in Italy. Credit: Ollie Bearman/Youtube

3. He's had the Hamilton seal of approval for years...

When Lewis Hamilton made his debut in Formula One, Bearman was only 18 months old.

Ollie's mum, Terri, posted a video clip six years ago on Instagram of Hamilton wishing her son good luck on his racing journey.

On Saturday, the Chelmsford teenager had a pinch-me moment as he overtook the seven-time world champion to finish the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in seventh place.

4. ... but Lionel Messi is his sporting icon

Bearman says the Argentinian footballer, who currently plays for David Beckham's MLS side Inter Miami, was a hero of his growing up.

He told F2: "I admire him and what he’s done even at this stage in his career, to win the World Cup last year was a really cool achievement and signed off his career basically."

However, Bearman admits football has taken a back seat to his driving these days, adding: "I was quite a big football fan when I was growing up – not so much now."

5. He's living la dolce vita

Living in Italy - and being a teenager - it's perhaps unsurprising to hear that Bearman's favourite cheat meal is pizza and pasta.

Hold the toppings on the pizza though!

The plainer, the better for the 18-year-old - as margheritas are the order of the day.

F1 starlet Ollie Bearman from Chelmsford, Essex says he loves Italian food. Credit: Ollie Bearman/Instagram

6. He's one of F1's lightweights (but only on the scales)

Despite his love of love of pizza, Oliver Bearman is the second lightest driver on the grid - weighing just 60kg or 132lbs.

Only RB's Yuki Tsunoda - who is 19 cm smaller - weighs less, at 54kg.

7. He carries a "lucky" sixpence

The coin - also known as a half-shilling - is in Bearman's wallet at all times.

The old British currency was worth six pennies or two-and-a-half new pence but has not been produced for over 50 years.

Bearman told the official F2 channel: "I don’t check that it’s still there that often, but I’m scared that if I lose it, I’ll be in big trouble."

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