MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Daniil Kvyat became the youngest driver to score a championship point while Kevin Magnussen finished on the podium on debut as Sunday’s season-opening Australian Grand Prix became a showcase for Formula One’s new generation.
At 19 years, 10 months and 18 days, Toro Rosso driver Kvyat set the record as the youngest-ever driver in the points, eclipsing the mark set by Sebastian Vettel at the U.S. Grand Prix in 2007, and the Russian could scarcely believe it.
“I never expected to score a point in my first race, so it feels amazing,” Kvyat said. “It’s a real boost for us and now we have to keep on working hard, and if we keep on the way we are going then we can look forward to a really positive season.”
The 21-year-old Magnussen became the second-youngest driver to finish on a podium, and matched the performance of one of his McLaren predecessors in Lewis Hamilton by doing so on debut in Melbourne.
It was an early repayment of the faith McLaren has shown in his talent, moving Sergio Perez aside after just one season and installing the young Dane, who becomes the first driver from that country to finish on an F1 podium.
“The team has worked so hard over the winter, and working with a rookie as well who hasn’t got experience,” Magnussen said. “It’s been tough for them but they’ve done such a good job, made me feel really at home and made me feel comfortable with everything. I couldn’t have asked for more.”
The changing of the guard could have been more pronounced if not for the post-race decision to disqualify Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo from his second-place finish due to a breach of fuel regulations.
Ricciardo sprayed champagne thinking he had achieved his first-ever podium finish – his previous best career finish had been a seventh in China last year – but five hours after the race he learnt he did not even earn a point, as race stewards ruled his car had exceeded the maximum fuel usage during the race.