Andrea Kimi Antonelli, Prema, Formula 2, 2024

Antonelli’s performance against Bearman in Formula 2 impresses De Vries

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In the round-up: Former Formula 1 driver Nyck de Vries has been impressed by Andrea Kimi Antonelli’s performance in Formula 2, a championship he won in 2019.

In brief

Antonelli “very special” – de Vries

Much-hyped Mercedes junior driver Andrea Kimi Antonelli hasn’t finished on the podium yet in Formula 2 but de Vries is impressed by how well he compares to Oliver Bearman, who made his Formula 1 debut for Ferrari as a substitute earlier this month.

“Everyone is talking about Ollie Bearman, because he did a very good, solid job – but if you look at Ollie, he did obviously a season in Formula 2, if you look at all the testing in Bahrain in the first weekend in Bahrain, even though the team was not necessarily performing, Kimi was always ahead of Ollie,” de Vries told Pelas Pistas.

“Of course, when you go to a track like Jeddah when you have 30 minutes free practice in F2 and then go into quali, he was only two-tenths off. So I think he did a very solid job. And clearly at the moment Prema hasn’t really figured it out yet so they are not performing. But I am very sure Kimi is very special.”

De Vries, also a former Mercedes junior driver, said Antonelli “lives and breathes racing” and is well-prepared for an F1 debut. “His father has a racing team. He has been driving all sorts of cars since a very young age. When you meet him, when you talk to him, he is a bright kid. He is sharp. He knows everything about racing.”

Having made his F1 debut as a substitute in 2022, de Vries was also impressed by Bearman’s performance as a stand-in for Sainz during the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix weekend. “I really think he did an amazing job,” he said. “He’s 18 years old, to turn up, you have no free practice, I mean one session, and to do the job he did to me is very impressive.

“I obviously did it in a much later point in my career. But also if I put myself back into my shoes when I was 18, I mean I looked like 12, I would have never been able to drive the thing.”

Drive to Survive won’t ignore Horner controversy

The controversy surrounding Christian Horner will be referenced in the upcoming season of Drive to Survive, according to producer James Gay Rees.

‘It will have to be referenced in some capacity,” he told The Telegraph. “And they will all want it to be told in a particular way, so it’s about treading that line to keep everybody happy, and to keep Netflix happy, and us – so we can sleep at night with the decisions we’ve made.

“You have to have balance. I think Horner is looking okay for the time being, but it doesn’t feel like it’s done yet. It will all depend on how it plays out. I don’t know what he got up to – and I genuinely don’t have an opinion on it, but he’s been through it and you wouldn’t wish that on anybody.”

Cassidy loses points lead as Nato regains sixth

Norman Nato’s sixth place finish in yesterday’s Formula E race was reinstated after the stewards accept a request for a review from his team. Andretti successfully argued the stewards had not seen a video angle which showed Nato had left Robin Frijns sufficient room as they fought for position.

His five-second post-race penalty was rescinded. He therefore returns to sixth in the race ahead of Nico Mueller and Nick Cassidy. The latter lost his lead in the championship as a result and now lies two points behind Pascal Wehrlein.

Palmowski opens GB3 season after win

Alisha Palmowski got her first season in GB4 off to the best possible start, controlling proceedings at Oulton Park after taking the lead from second on the grid. The Elite Motorsport driver led home KMR duo Harry Burgoyne and Brandon McCaughan.

Her team mate Finn Harrison picked up a 10-second penalty for a false start after spinning as he arrived on the grid, which can be seen at the start of this video:

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Comment of the day

Where should Sainz go next year? MichaelN thinks his former employer should come calling:

Sainz at Mercedes with Russell doesn’t really seem all that exciting, especially as the team seems a bit lost on how to move forward. And given their fragmented ownership, their future is not all that certain. It’s not really a works team anymore, in some sense. And unless something truly extraordinary happens, Audi won’t be competitive for a long time. Not with Sauber. So that seems like a waste for Sainz to be at this point in his career.

Would Sainz want to race with Verstappen again? It got quite tense at Toro Rosso… and it’s an open question if Horner can focus on his job long enough to manage that kind of driver pairing. Verstappen would likely have the upper hand, but Sainz would be more of a Rosberg than a Bottas. Not the favourite to win, but quick enough to annoy, and probably often enough to cause some tension. It’d be great for F1, probably great for Sainz – but would Red Bull want to?

There’s still time to join in this weekend’s Caption Competition here:

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On this day in motorsport

  • 30 years ago today Jean Alesi suffered a heavy testing crash at Mugello which ruled him out of the Pacific Grand Prix

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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13 comments on “Antonelli’s performance against Bearman in Formula 2 impresses De Vries”

  1. Well, I don’t think anyone really expected DTS to ignore a controversy!

    1. Not particularly, no

    2. Ignore it, certainly not. Water it down in order to let a popular character save face, definitely if we think to the treatment received by the 2021 budget cap breach or the 2021 season’s finale.

  2. Firstly, De Vries was never a Mercedes junior (Mclaren on the other hand, yes), but while I can agree with him that Antonelli may be a special case to an extent, I still feel that everyone should simply forget him from any 2025 considerations because of his thus far limited single-seater racing experience, & not much point in rushing with him anyway because doing another season in F2 (assuming he doesn’t win the championship) wouldn’t hurt at all, but if anything, make him more mentally prepared to race in F1 from 2026 versus next year, so a less risky scenario for career development in any case.

    1. I forgot to add that the 2019 Bahrain GP also occurred on this day, i.e., the race where Leclerc would’ve achieved his maiden victory if a technical issue didn’t strike him.

    2. @jerejj I am not saying that you are wrong, but Antonelli already has much more single seater experience than Kimi Raikkonen (what’s in the name) and Max Verstappen before they made their debuts in F1. And see what happens with them.

  3. notagrumpyfan
    31st March 2024, 8:54

    but would Red Bull want to?

    Red Bull might have to if Perez continues to be .3-.5s behind in quali and 30s in the race.

    Ferrari seems to be close again without the strategy and operational mistakes.
    McLaren has a much better year, and Piastri starting to become a very strong pairing with Norris.
    And one day Mercedes will get their act together as well.

    1. Good point, that’ll likely part of the consideration. They probably wouldn’t want a Massa in 2012, or Bottas in 2018 scenario if it seems like the competition is genuinly closing in. It’s okay for Pérez not to win, but he can’t be behind all the others.

      The choice for 2025 is also interesting in that it’s the last year of the current generation; so getting a new long(er) term driver settled in before 2026 seems like it could be a worthwhile choice.

  4. I don’t wish being on Drive to Survive on anybody either.

  5. Does DTS show any real behind the scene stuff, or go deep into investigating controversies like these? because if they don’t, just a mere recollection of what happened seems a bit of a waste of time given the amount of front-page coverage this particular controversy already had… even people not interested in F1 know about it…

  6. So we keep on calling him Andrea Kimi because his second first name is the same as a past champion ? I don’t get it.
    Yet Antonelli has proved nothing in F2, so he’s got a long way to go to F1

    1. I would agree on your comment lets wait untill we see a whole season. At this moment i am not seeing something special from Antonelli.

    2. @jeff1s

      Yet Antonelli has proved nothing in F2

      But he has proven about everything in the classes below F2, so I think it is just a matter of time he (read Prema) will get his act together in F2.

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