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F1: Top 5 Rookie Drivers of All-time

George Howson
ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
Timeless

Lewis Hamilton was very close to winning the driver
Lewis Hamilton was very close to winning the driver's world championship in his first F1 season.

A famous Liverpool FC manager once said "experience is everything" but some athletes defy the odds to defeat the established pros right from the beginning of their career. Formula 1 is no exception to this, as there have been some stunning rookie seasons over the years.

From several near-rookie champions to the newbies that dragged their backmarker cars up the grid, there's too many to list, but here's 5 of the most impressive.

#5 Charles Leclerc, 2018

Charles Leclerc has easily been the rookie of the year so far, and one of the best drivers of 2018.
Charles Leclerc has easily been the rookie of the year so far, and one of the best drivers of 2018.

Charles Leclerc will become the youngest Ferrari driver since Ricardo Rodriguez in 1961 and this is in part thanks to his fantastic debut season in Formula 1. Kimi Raikkonen has arguably been driving the best he has since his championship-winning season in 2007, but that hasn't stopped the Scuderia from promoting their young driver to Finn's seat for 2019.

After a stellar Formula 2 campaign in 2017, - one of the most dominant displays in the feeder series' history - Leclerc was given his shot in F1 with Sauber and he's impressed us ever since. Marcus Ericsson has been with Sauber since 2015, but it only took a few races for his younger team-mate to begin outperforming the Swede.

Ericsson isn't the highest rated driver on the grid but he's still an experienced driver and has improved a lot in 2018 compared to his previous campaign but that hasn't stopped the Monaco native from besting Marcus. Looking into the statistics reveals a very one-sided battle, Leclerc leading 16-4 in qualifying (with an average advantage of 0.6 seconds per lap), 9-3 in races where they've both finished and 33-9 in points scored.

If that was a boxing match, the referee would've stopped it early and don't rule out Leclerc getting the better of Sebastian Vettel next year.

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