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Vettel becomes youngest point scorer 17 Jun 2007

Sebastian Vettel (GER) BMW Sauber F1.07 Test Driver.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 7, United States Grand Prix, Race, Indianapolis, USA, Sunday, 17 June 2007

BMW Sauber’s stand-in racer Sebastian Vettel made the most of his Formula One debut with a first-rate drive to eighth in Sunday’s United States Grand Prix. Aged just 19, he becomes the youngest driver to score a world championship point.

Third driver Vettel was only named as Robert Kubica’s temporary replacement on Thursday, after FIA doctors decided Kubica should not race until he had completely recovered from his high-speed crash at last weekend’s Montreal event.

Although Vettel had worked wonders in the F1.07 during qualifying on Saturday - taking seventh on the grid - it looked as though the German’s nerves had got the better of him at the start of the race. Struggling to get away quickly enough, he initially lost four places.

But with David Coulthard’s Red Bull retiring soon after and Renault’s Giancarlo Fisichella taking to the grass, Vettel was able to reclaim two places. Gradually growing in confidence, he managed to keep the F1.07 on track and push enough to keep up with the Red Bull of Mark Webber and Jarno Trulli’s Toyota.

In fact in the later stages Vettel even began to pressurise Webber for a points-scoring position. But unable to find a way past the Australian’s RB3, Vettel was eventually gifted a point thanks to the late retirement of fellow countryman Nico Rosberg.

Vettel’s one championship point was BMW Sauber’s only reward at Indianapolis, after team mate Nick Heidfeld was forced to retire on lap 60 after a hydraulic leak. Despite enduring their worst race of the season, the German-Swiss team remain third in the constructors’ table, with a 14-point advantage over Renault.