Top ten: Youngest F1 point-scorers

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This may be one of the toughest seasons ever for a driver to arrive in F1 as a rookie.

In-season and pre-season testing has been severely reduced for the last five years, meaning the new generation of drivers has spent far less time in F1 cars than those who came before them.

On top of that, they have to cope with power units which are vastly more complicated and quite unlike anything they have used in junior racing categories.

But the signs of quality in F1’s latest intake of new drivers has been clear to see. At the first race of the year in Australia Kevin Magnussen began his F1 career with a podium finish.

And Daniil Kvyat beat Sebastian Vettel’s record by becoming the youngest driver ever to score a point in a round of the world championship.

They are the only teenagers to have scored points in F1 so far. Here’s how they did it – as well as the next eight youngest F1 points scorers.

Daniil Kvyat

Position: Ninth
Race: 2014 Australian Grand Prix
Age: 19 years, 329 days

Kvyat’s promotion to Red Bull’s junior team was not widely foreseen and caused a stir when it was announced in October last year. The more experienced Antonio Felix da Costa had been widely expected to move into the seat vacated by Daniel Ricciardo. But Kvyat underlined his credentials by winning the GP3 series after his drive was announced.

Toro Rosso suffered numerous problems with their car and its new Renault V6 turbo during pre-season testing. Kvyat failed to leave the garage at all in his first day of testing in Jerez.

But hit the ground running at the first race weekend of the year. Despite never having driven at Melbourne before or piloted an F1 car in the wet, Kvyat qualified eighth, after an ambitious attempt to set a time on intermediate tyres on a very wet track led to a minor crash.

There was little he could do to prevent Kimi Raikkonen and Valtteri Bottas overtaking him in the race, but he stayed out of trouble to claim two points for ninth on his debut – becoming the youngest driver ever to do so. He’s already added two more points finishes since.

Sebastian Vettel

Position: Eighth
Race: 2007 United States Grand Prix
Age: 19 years, 354 days

When the prodigious young talent of Sebastian Vettel would make his first start in an F1 car was only a matter of time in 2007. But while he later gained his first regular drive at Red Bull’s junior team Toro Rosso, he started his first ever race with BMW’s team.

BMW knew all about Vettel’s potential: three years early he obliterated the German Formula BMW field, taking 18 wins, a second and a third in the 20-round championship. In 2006 the Red Bull-backed driver then won both of his first two races in Formula Renault 3.5. He also gained a spot on BMW’s test team, and when Robert Kubica was injured in Canada the following year Vettel was handed his grand prix debut at Indianapolis.

Vettel’s inexperienced showed at the start: he made a sluggish getaway and failed to pick out his braking point for the first corner. That left him skidding across the grass, but he fortunately rejoined without hitting anyone.

From there on he avoided any further incidents and was 17 seconds behind Nick Heidfeld when his team mate dropped out with a hydraulic problem. Then Nico Rosberg stopped with an oil leak five laps from home, promoting Vettel to eighth place and the final point available, making him the first teenager to score in F1.

Jaime Alguersuari

Position: Ninth
Race: 2010 Malaysian Grand Prix
Age: 20 years, 17 days

Alguersuari remains the youngest driver ever to start an F1 race, having made his debut for Toro Rosso at the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix at the age of 19 – the year after he claimed the British F3 title.

Toro Rosso struggled for points in the latter half of that season but began the following year with a more competitive car. Their cause was also helped by the fact that points were now offered down to tenth place, instead of eighth.

In the third round at Sepang, Alguersuari worked his way up to tenth place then received a bonus when Fernando Alonso dropped out late in the race, and collected his first two points for ninth.

This list is well populated with drivers whose careers were backed by Red Bull’s young driver programme. But while the likes of Vettel went on to enjoy tremendous success, others like Alguersuari found out the hard way what happens when they are thought not to have delivered. He was dropped by the team at the end of 2011, and is now set to race in Formula E for Virgin later this year.

Jenson Button

Position: Sixth
Race: 2000 Brazilian Grand Prix
Age: 20 years, 72 days

Jenson Button was only two years out of karts when he went up against Bruno Junqueira in a shoot-out for a seat at Williams. He got the drive, but a difficult first weekend in Australia saw him line up on the back row of the grid then retire with an engine problem.

Fortune was back on his side in Brazi, however, where he out-qualified team mate Ralf Schumacher at only his second grand prix weekend.

His more experienced team mate finished ahead, but when David Coulthard was disqualified for a front wing infringement Button was elevated to sixth place, earning a single point, and becoming the youngest driver to do so at the time.

Ricardo Rodriguez

Position: Fourth
Race: 1962 Belgian Grand Prix
Age: 20 years, 128 days

Button broke a 38-year-old record which had been set by one of Mexico’s most promising racing talents.

Ricardo Rodriguez had made his world championship debut for Ferrari in the 1961 Italian Grand Prix. Team mate Wolfgang von Trips was killed during the race, leaving a void in the team which Rodriguez helped fill the following year.

At Spa-Francorchamps he took fourth place in the wheeltracks of the other Ferrari of Phil Hill, picking up his first three points.

But tragically, F1’s youngest points scorer had less than five months to live. He could not stand to miss his home country’s non-championship grand prix in November, so when Ferrari decided not to enter he drove a Lotus run by Rob Walker instead. During practice he crashed at the Peraltada, suffered horrible injuries, and was killed.

Sebastien Buemi

Position: Seventh
Race: 2009 Australian Grand Prix
Age: 20 years, 154 days

Like Alguersuari, Buemi made an early start in F1 with Toro Rosso but lost his race seat at the end of 2011. Unlike his former team mate, Buemi has remained with Red Bull as a test driver.

With three laps to go in his first F1 race Buemi seemed destined not to begin his F1 career with a points haul. He was running tenth, two places outside of the points, when the Australian Grand Prix ended amid drama.

First Vettel collided with Kubica, putting both out and bringing the Safety Car onto the track. Then Lewis Hamilton and McLaren made a fateful decision to let Jarno Trulli past during the Safety Car period.

This was eventually ruled to have been an error, one which the team did not confess to, and when Hamilton was thrown out of the race four days later Buemi was confirmed in seventh.

Nico Rosberg

Position: Seventh
Race: 2006 Bahrain Grand Prix
Age: 20 years, 263 days

Early in his career Rosberg had shared a kart team with Hamilton and also went up against him in F3. But he arrived in F1 one year before his rival.

It looked like Rosberg’s promotion to Williams’ race squad might have been premature when he collided with Heidfeld at the first corner, damaging his front wing. But after making an early pit stop Rosberg went on a charge, setting fastest lap on his was to an impressive seventh place.

That raised hopes for what he could achieve later in the year. But it proved his best result of the season, as a series of technical problems and a few more run-ins with his rivals kept him from finishing any higher.

Chris Amon

Position: Fifth
Race: 1964 Dutch Grand Prix
Age: 20 years, 314 days

Teenage racing drivers were a rare thing when Amon made his F1 debut in 1963. He didn’t score during his first season driving a Lola for Reg Parnell, but came close at Reims and Silverstone, finishing seventh on both occasions.

The team switched to a Lotus 25 the following year an Amon brought the car home fifth in the first race he started that year at Zandvoort. At the time it would have been hard to imagine this bright young talent would spend another 13 years in F1 yet, through a combination of poor luck and poor timing, never win a race.

Felipe Massa

Position: Sixth
Race: 2002 Malaysian Grand Prix
Age: 20 years, 331 days

Felipe Massa had a hard act to follow in 2002 when he succeeded Raikkonen as Peter Sauber’s ‘next big thing’.

Massa was clearly a rough diamond – incident-prone yet clearly very quick. That said he was blameless in the multi-car shunt which ruined his F1 race before it had started in Australia. Next time out in Malaysia he brought the Sauber home in sixth.

He got himself in trouble a few too many times during the rest of the season, however, and was benched for one race after collecting a grid penalty for colliding with Pedro de la Rosa during the Italian Grand Prix.

Sergio Perez

Position: Ninth
Race: 2011 Spanish Grand Prix
Age: 21 years, 121 days

Sergio Perez should have joined F1’s ranks of first-time points scorers when he crossed the line seventh at his first race in Australia at the beginning of the 2011 season. But he and team mate Kamui Kobayashi were disqualified due to a rear wing infringement.

He made amends at round five in Spain, bringing the car home ninth. But at the very next round, Monaco, he crashed heavily and missed the race and the following event in Canada due to injury.

Top ten youngest F1 points scorers

Daniil KvyatToro Rosso2014 Australian Grand Prix19 years, 329 days
Sebastian VettelBMW2007 United States Grand Prix19 years, 354 days
Jaime AlguersuariToro Rosso2010 Malaysian Grand Prix20 years, 17 days
Jenson ButtonWilliams2000 Brazilian Grand Prix20 years, 72 days
Ricardo RodriguezFerrari1962 Belgian Grand Prix20 years, 128 days
Sebastien BuemiToro Rosso2009 Australian Grand Prix20 years, 154 days
Nico RosbergWilliams2006 Bahrain Grand Prix20 years, 263 days
Chris AmonReg Parnell1964 Dutch Grand Prix20 years, 314 days
Felipe MassaSauber2002 Malaysian Grand Prix20 years, 331 days
Sergio PerezSauber2011 Spanish Grand Prix21 years, 121 days

F1 top tens

Read more top tens

Images © Red Bull/Getty, Williams/LAT, Sauber

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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33 comments on “Top ten: Youngest F1 point-scorers”

  1. Bloody hell, Vettel’s Formula BMW season in 2004….18 wins out of 20. That’s genuinely scary. Everyone else must have been like “Jesus, who the hell is that kid!?!”

    1. It was the car. Newey must have designed it. ;-)

    2. Tell that to Paul di Resta.. who beat Vettel in F3, when Vettel was already changing focus to F1.. interestingly, if Hamilton had progressed 1 year faster in the junior levels, would McLaren have used him in 2006 as the replacement for Montoya?

  2. Four out of the top ten are from the Red Bull young driver programme.

    1. I was writting that…but from that permisse we know can see that the programme works…

      1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
        30th May 2014, 14:50

        it works, but at the same time it’s a very rough test for the drivers… Buemi and Alguersari weren’t consistent enough to be kept… Ricciardo impressed Marko, and now he is proving to be more adaptable to this year’s car. I’m just wondering where Kvyat could step up if both RB drivers are so good! As I said the other day, it should be good to improve Toro Rosso to a Red Bull team level.

        1. @omarr-pepper Agreed . Torro Rosso have to step up . I am curious to see how Kyvat goes along. He has been supreme in the Torro Rosso , I’d say even better than Ricciardo and we can see how :DR goes in the Red Bull . So , It’s looking great for them .

  3. I was expecting Hamilton in the Top10! Interesting!

    1. I believe Lewis was 22 or 23 when he entered F1

    2. Yes, 22, McLaren gave him an extra year or two in the junior levels to make sure he was on fire when he got to F1.. from about 20 onwards, he was back to his peak levels, winning F3, then GP2 aged 21.

  4. And Vettel was chasing down his future team mate Mark Webber in Indianapolis before running out of laps. He might have finally got ahead of him in Mark’s last race in Brazil 2013

  5. The stat compares apples with oranges, given that point earning positions changed, but I like this article for its stories. When reading the “young Massa” part I was reminded of Maldonado for some reason.

    I’m curious how a fair list would look like. Looking at the chart above, the youngest player to finish in top 6 seems to be Button. Now does anybody know who would be the youngest driver to finish in top 10?

    1. player->driver. Sorry

    2. Now does anybody know who would be the youngest driver to finish in top 10?

      @ph That would still be Kvyat. Vettel still ranks second, but in third it’s Alonso, who finished tenth at the 2001 German GP while celebrating his 20th birthday. Fourth is Esteban Tuero, who was 20 years and four days old when he finished eighth at the 1998 San Marino GP.

      1. @ph Thank you.

        All these stats suggest rather convincingly that F1 became a young man’s game in recent decades.

      2. @andae23 Thank you (copied the wrong tag).

      3. @andae23: Small correction to your post: in third it’s not Alonso. Chris Amon slots in as he had a seventh place in the French GP, June 30 1963. He was 19 years and 355 days old.

        1. I thought I might have made a mistake :P thanks

  6. Massa wasn’t banned from the USA GP in 2002. He just got a 10 place grid penalty, so the team decided to replace him with Frentzen for the next race. Isn’t it?

    1. @geocucc True – have changed it.

  7. @keithcollantine – just a heads up. You’ve put “Wolfgang CON Trips” – unless its a droll observation that maybe due to his Teutonic nature he too was fond of some underhand tactics…

  8. Compare that picture of Rosberg in the Williams of Kyvat in the STR… F1, what have you done?

    1. Williams to* Kyvat

  9. Amazing to think people wrote off Kvyat as a pay driver only 6 months ago!

    1. What they forgot was that you can’t pay to get on the RB scheme…. and if anyone pays it is them picking someone they like!

  10. Interesting read, but also like Alonso’s career points record, this is pretty much pointless because of different point scoring systems through F1 history.

    For example, Kvyat, Alguersuari, Buemi don’t even have top 6 finish, yet they scored points because in the last five seasons top 10 positions are awarded with points.
    And then we have example of Luca Badoer, who is mocked by many because he has most starts without scoring a point. With current system he would have scored 26 points.

    It is interesting how almost trivial things can shape opinion not only about drivers, but also on quality of the grid.
    Just look at Ricciardo. If the old scoring system was in use, he would have scored his first points only this season in Bahrain. Can you imagine 10, 20 or 30 years ago that a guy who has done two and a half seasons and scored no points would end up in a team that is current WCC?

  11. Vettel’s inexperienced showed at the start: he made a sluggish getaway and failed to pick out his braking point for the first corner. That left him skidding across the grass, but he fortunately rejoined without hitting anyone.

    What a terrible driver. He clearly can’t drive a car unless it’s a Newey magic machine and he’s on pole position.

    1. I heard rumours that he once gave a Japanese luxury car company tips on creating a performance vehicle, and they ending up with this:

      1. Looks like it’s got a planted rear end :D

      2. @prof-kirk Infiniti’s are quite the monstrosities ;)

  12. Three of them were in Sauber and three of them were in Toro Rosso.

    1. Sauber used to do a great job at finding good new drivers, it’s a shame their line-up this year is that bad.

      1. Well, Sauber was sponsored by Red Bull for most of the late 90’s. They famously parted ways when Sauber chose Raikkonen over the RB backed Enrique Bernoldi.

        That has no relevance to this list, since Massa, Vettel and Perez raced for Sauber in the post-RB period. But I guess Peter Sauber could spot talent really well when his hands weren’t tied. Also does anybody know if some of Sauber’s scouts jumped ship to the Red Bull driver’s program after RBR was formed?

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