INDIANAPOLIS (Reuters) - Germany’s Sebastian Vettel became the youngest Formula One driver to score a point when the 19-year-old finished eighth for BMW Sauber in the U.S. Grand Prix on Sunday.
But despite his impressive Formula One debut, the German teenager, who turns 20 on July 3, is unlikely to be on the starting grid when the championship returns to Europe for the French Grand Prix on July 1.
Vettel, the team test and reserve driver, was making his race debut after Poland’s Robert Kubica failed a medical examination following a big crash in the Canadian Grand Prix a week earlier.
The Pole is expected to be back in the BMW at Magny Cours after undergoing another fitness test.
“You’re always itching, especially as reserve driver when you’re standing next to the track and watching,” Vettel told reporters.
“This was the case in Australia, Malaysia, Barcelona, Monaco and Montreal and being back in that position again is not easy.
“For people who are after history maybe it was important, but to be honest to me the one point doesn’t matter,” he added.
“I was just happy to finish the race and with one point it was even better.”
The previous youngest driver to score a point was Briton Jenson Button, aged 20 years and two months when he finished sixth for Williams in the 2000 Brazilian Grand Prix.
Formula One’s scoring system has changed since 2001, when only the top six drivers scored. Since 2003, the top eight have been awarded points.
BMW team principal Mario Theissen had plenty of praise for his young driver but confirmed that Kubica would be back as soon as possible.
“I am happy for Sebastian and the team that he has scored a point for us in his maiden Grand Prix,” said Theissen. “In the first corner he had to learn a lesson the hard way and lost three places.
“Robert will have to pass another medical test prior to the next race but as soon as he has the green light he will be sitting in the race car again.”