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2009 rookie starts // How the new drivers of this season are getting on

Published by Christine

This article was originally written for BellaOnline, but is republished here for posterity.

Sébastien Buemi is the only rookie in F1 this year, and as ever, he has a lot to live up to. Taking over from Sebastian Vettel, the pressure was always going to be high for him, and since Lewis Hamilton's amazing rookie year, we expect more from our first time drivers.

However, with just three races under his belt, Buemi has picked up points in two of them. On his debut, he finished 7th, securing two points, and last week in China, he picked up the last points position. So far, he has shown some really good driving, overtaking others where necessary, but there are still signs that he is a rookie. Small mistakes creep into his performance sometimes, but that can be forgiven if he continues to improve from here.

Clearly, Toro Rosso are far from where they were last year. With Vettel behind the wheel they picked up their maiden win, ahead of sister team Red Bull. Now Vettel has moved up to the top team (and given them their maiden win as well), the team will be hard pushed to repeat anything like the success they enjoyed in 2008.

This could be a really good chance for Buemi to shine though. He was snapped up almost instantly by the team, whilst they struggled to decide on their second driver. Finally option for Bourdais, they have seen the Frenchman struggle and complain that the car doesn't suit his driving style. This can only make Buemi seem even better as he continues to do well.

Boss at STR, Franz Tost, has suggested that they never expected Buemi to do quite so well as he has, although they were hoping for points in the second half of the season. Now that the rookie has secured those points in only the first three races, Tost says he needs to keep on pushing to score even more as the season progresses.

For Buemi, his aim at the start of the year was simply to learn and find his feet within the team. Now, with an underperforming teammate, he may find himself leading the way as they aim to pick up those ever important points.