Vettel, Verstappen and the teen F1 stars who give hope to McLaren new boy Norris

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They are barely legal to drive on the roads but Formula One has seen a growing trend for teams putting their faith in teenage talent.

Lando Norris, 18, became the latest young driver to be thrust onto the biggest stage in motorsport on Monday, as he landed a McLaren seat for the 2019 season.

Only 11 teenagers have ever started an F1 grand prix - seven of those since 2000 - but some have proved the risk worthwhile by reaching the top of the sport.

Here we take a look at a selection of drivers who prove that there can be great reward for teams willing to take their chance with a young driver.


First race: USA 2007
Age: 19y 11m 14d

Vettel made his debut at the United States Grand Prix of 2007, finishing eighth for BMW Sauber, and went on to become the sport's youngest race winner when he triumphed at Monza with Toro Rosso the following season. That promising form earned him a move to Red Bull, where he won four drivers' championships during a period of dominance for the team, the first of them making him the youngest champion in F1 history. He is now the main threat to defending champion Lewis Hamilton as part of Ferrari's driver line-up.

First race: Belgium 2016
Age: 19y 11m 11d

Following his success in Formula Three and the GP3 series, Ocon was given his first chance by Manor at Spa. The Frenchman, who has since joined Racing Point Force India, quickly earned a reputation as one of the most consistent performers on the grid and holds the record for the most consecutive finishes from the start of a driver's career - an impressive 27 races. He is yet to grace the podium, though.

First race: Australia 2014
Age: 19y 10m 18d

Kvyat was fast-tracked into a Red Bull seat for 2015 after one season with Toro Rosso but managed only two podium finishes before he was unceremoniously dumped in favour of a man who appears later in this list four races into the following campaign. The Russian was sent back to the junior team but had been phased out completely by the end of 2017. If reports are to be believed, he could be back with Toro Rosso next season.

First race: Australia 2001
Age: 19y 7m 4d

Minardi gave this legend of the sport his his first drive in 2001 but he spent the following season as test driver at Renault. It was with the French manufacturer that Alonso would enjoy his greatest success however, winning his two drivers' titles in 2005 and 2006. Alonso - now at McLaren - has confirmed that this will be his final year in F1 and he will leave feeling that he perhaps should have won more.

First race: Australia 2017
Age: 18y 4m 26d

One of only two teenagers to score a podium finish, Stroll's fortunes since being handed a Williams drive last season have varied wildly. After retiring from his first three races, Stroll had only achieved one points finish before finishing third in Azerbaijan last year. He and Williams have struggled to make any impact in 2018, but the fact his father is behind the Racing Point Force India takeover means his place on the grid should be safe for the foreseeable future.

First race: Australia 2015
Age: 17y 5m 15d

Verstappen is the marker against which all future teen drivers will be measured. Having made his debut for Toro Rosso at not even 17-and-a-half years old - the youngest driver to start a race - Verstappen became the youngest ever winner of a grand prix when he triumphed in his first outing after replacing Kvyat at Red Bull, at Spain in 2016. The Dutchman has since won a further three races, all of them at a younger age than Vettel, who is second on the youngest winners' list and claimed his first victory at 21. Verstappen is tipped as a future world champion and, when he adds an extra level of maturity to his driving, it will be difficult to argue against that point of view. 

F1's other teenage drivers: Jaime Alguersuari, Mike Thackwell, Ricardo Rodriguez, Esteban Tuero, Chris Amon.