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Nyck de Vries

Ex-F1 driver labels Antonelli and Bearman as 'top talents'

Nyck de Vries has praised Kimi Antonelli and Oliver Bearman, two drivers he sees having bright futures.

Bearman Saudi
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Former RB driver Nyck de Vries has been massively impressed by Kimi Antonelli and Oliver Bearman, with the Dutchman admitting that he "could never" have made his F1 debut at 18 years old.

Ferrari and Mercedes are looking incredibly strong for the future, with Bearman being part of the Italians driver academy, whilst Antonelli is the Silver Arrows' young prodigy.

Despite Bearman's sensational performance on his last-minute F1 debut in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, it is Antonelli who has stolen the show, to the extent that he is a contender for Lewis Hamilton's seat in 2025.

This season, Bearman and Antonelli are team-mates at Prema in F2, a category de Vries won back in 2019. Whilst Bearman received significant praise after his debut points finish, de Vries has his eye on 17-year-old Antonelli.

"Everyone talks about Bearman, because he has done well and solidly," De Vries said on the Pelas Pistas podcast.

"Only he has already driven a season in Formula 2 and yet Antonelli was ahead of him every time during testing and the first race weekend in Bahrain, despite Prema not really performing."

Antonelli 'breathes racing'

As mentioned, 2024 is Bearman's second season in F2, whereas Antonelli is making his debut. Particularly in qualifying, it is the Ferrari junior who has had the edge, not entirely to de Vries' surprise.

Bearman had actually claimed pole position for the F2 feature race in Saudi Arabia, before jumping into Carlos Sainz's SF24.

"When you go to the circuit in Jeddah and can only train for 30 minutes, I think Kimi did very well in qualifying by coming only two tenths short," added de Vries.

"It is clear that Prema has not really mastered the new regulations yet, so they are not performing great. But I'm sure Kimi is very special."

According to the Season 7 Formula E world champion, everything is about racing in Antonelli's family, with the Italian himself being incredibly switched on.

"He breathes racing. He's been driving all kinds of cars since he was young," said the Mahindra driver. "He's a smart guy when you meet him and talk to him. Kimi is sharp and knows everything about racing."

Bearman debut praise

Mercedes and Ferrari have two gems on their hands, with Bearman's F1 debut having come under similar circumstances to de Vries at the 2021 Italian Grand Prix.

De Vries replaced Alex Albon ahead of third practice, as the Williams driver was transferred to hospital to also undergo an Appendectomy.

However, the Dutchman's debut was made in his mid-20s, not as a teenager, a feat he does not believe he could have managed.

"I really think he did a great job," conceded de Vries. "He's 18 years old and I thought what he showed after one free practice was impressive.

"I myself did it at a later point in my career. When I think back to when I was 18 years old, I could never have driven that thing. I looked like 12."

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