Callum Ilott is one of the best young drivers in the motorsport world. Last year he narrowly missed out on the Formula 2 world championship title and now he finally made his debut in Formula 1.
The young Brit made his F1 debut in the first free practice session for Alfa Romeo this race weekend in Portimao.
At the end of the session he finished 17th and afterwards described his challenges and experiences on his debut in the elite class of motorsport.
“It was great to get the first opportunity with some better weather than the Nürburgring as well, it was not so easy, I have to say. The conditions were quite difficult – the track grip is a bit low – but no, it was a great experience and sometimes it’s nice to be thrown in the deep end.”
“I’m very happy with how it went. As a team, my fastest effort was not a bad lap – a bit windy down the straight, I have to say. Overall, not a bad first run. We got through everything we needed to as a team and really positive, kept working, kept gaining consistency and finished with everything we needed to.”
Ilott is a Ferrari junior and was allowed to test for Ferrari with Shwartzman and Schumacher at Fiorano in January this year. In the end, he was behind Raikkonen by “only” four tenths.
Asked if he already had a peek at Raikkonen’s place in Formula 1 and had any hopes for the future, he said he was flattered to be considered a “candidate” but didn’t want to look that far into the future just yet.
“He’s still at the top. I’m not going to say anything, no. It’s good to get the experience and put myself in a position where possibly I can be a contender. At the moment I’ve just got to work on what I’m doing and keep putting myself on there.”
The Briton also managed a better time than Formula 2 World Champion Mick Schumacher. But he admires the German for his great development.
“You can see the progress he’s made having driven a few races this season already, so it was interesting for me to see his progress and also his experiences in Formula 1. So, if I get the opportunity in Formula 1 next year already, I can know a bit more what to expect from an FDA point of view as well.”