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Stunning start for F1 new boy Vettel

Written by: Staff
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ISTANBUL, Aug 25 (Reuters) German teenager Sebastian Vettel made an immediate impression at the Turkish Grand Prix on Friday with an eye-catching debut as BMW Sauber test driver.

The youngest driver to take part in a Formula One grand prix weekend, at 19 years and 53 days, Vettel ended the afternoon as the quickest man on track with a lap of one minute 28.091 seconds.

He had already established himself as a young man in a hurry with a 1,000 dollars fine for speeding in the pit lane just nine seconds after the morning session started.

Even if the German does not race on Sunday, he certainly set out his credentials as a prospect for the future at a track other drivers have likened to Belgium's classic Spa-Francorchamps circuit.

Brazilian Felipe Massa, in a Ferrari, was the quickest of the race drivers with Briton Jenson Button showing consistent pace in third place for Honda after winning for the first time in Hungary this month.

Ferrari's Michael Schumacher, fighting a fierce title battle with Renault's Fernando Alonso, was second quickest in the morning and sixth in the afternoon.

World champion Fernando Alonso, 10 points clear of Schumacher in the standings with five races remaining, did not set a time in the first session and was 12th on the timesheets after lunch.

McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen, who won last year's inaugural race at the Istanbul park circuit from pole position, was fastest in the morning in 1:28.315.

The Finn is seeking his first win this season despite starting the last two races on pole.

Vettel was making his debut at a grand prix weekend after BMW Sauber's previous Polish test driver Robert Kubica was promoted to the race seat following the departure of Canadian former champion Jacques Villeneuve.

The previous youngest driver to take part in a race weekend was New Zealander Mike Thackwell aged 19 years five months and 29 days in practice for the 1980 Canadian Grand Prix.

Vettel, who has tested for BMW away from race weekends, is not the youngest to drive a Formula One car however.

Germany's Nico Rosberg, the son of 1982 champion Keke and now in his rookie Formula One season with Williams, had his first first run in one of that team's cars when he was just 17.

REUTERS PM RK1840

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