2017 F1 driver rankings #19: Kvyat

2017 F1 season review

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Daniil Kvyat joins Jolyon Palmer, the other driver who lost his seat, at the foot of this year’s driver rankings. Did they really have comparably bad seasons?

After all, Kvyat’s qualifying performances were decent. He was practically on a par with Carlos Sainz Jnr, who edged him 8-6 in qualifying when they were team mates and was quicker by a negligible 0.03 seconds.

Daniil Kvyat

Beat team mate in qualifying 7/15
Beat team mate in race 2/8
Races finished 11/15
Laps spent ahead of team mate 146/556
Qualifying margin -0.02
Points 5

But one-lap pace is only one part of the picture. In other respects, Kvyat had another deeply flawed season.

He converted those qualifying performances into points scores far too infrequently. By the time they went their separate ways Sainz had out-scored him 48-4. Only at Monza did Kvyat lead Sainz home on merit, and by that point in the season Toro Rosso had probably already made the decision to drop him.

He did one more race, in Singapore, where he crashed out and Sainz came home fourth. Had it not been for Pierre Gasly’s clashing Super Formula commitment in Austin that would have been it for Kvyat. (As it was, he snagged a final point on his one-off return.)

In mitigation Kvyat can point to the usual Toro Rosso technical problems which stymied him at times. There were also occasions when he got the raw end of life in the midfield. Notably in Monaco where he was hit by Sergio Perez.

However Kvyat cost himself plenty more points by being unable to stay out of trouble. Procedural errors likes the one he made in Canada, which received a substantial penalty, are one thing. But his first-lap crashes in Austria and Britain reflected a failure to learn from the high-profile error which marked the end of his time as a Red Bull driver last year. On both occasions this year he took out Red Bull’s drivers: Max Verstappen in the team’s home race Austria, Sainz at Silverstone.

Small wonder Red Bull decided Kvyat had been given enough chances to prove he could sustain his performance for more than a single lap at a time.

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Over to you

It really seemed at times this year that Kvyat had regained the form he had seemed to lose in 2016, but overall it has been much the same as last year. A reckless couple of races mid-season, including wiping out his teammates was the low and a crash in Singapore sealed his exit.

What’s your verdict on Daniil Kvyat’s 2017 season? Which drivers do you feel he performed better or worse than him? Have your say in the comments.

Add your views on the other drivers here:

2017 F1 season review

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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29 comments on “2017 F1 driver rankings #19: Kvyat”

  1. I would say, looking at Stroll’s qualifying gap to the retired Massa and Kvyat’s gap to the faster Sainz, that Kvyat gets to be ahead of Stroll but by the most minute of gaps.

    1. Stroll has probably bought his way up in this ranking as well…

      On another note, bit more serious, the qualifying gap is indeed bigger for Stroll but even if I don’t think he has his place in f1, he has far more points to show for. Points bring cash while qualifying being only praise.

    2. On the other hand @godoff1, Stroll did show he could bring it home in the points on several occasions (including getting a lucky break in Baku). And he had a superb qualifying in Monza. And Stroll was in his rookie year, while Kvyat already has 3 years in the sport.

      1. I don’t get the constant praise for Stroll for his Monza quali. If it was something he replicated in any other wet session in the season, I’d understand it but as it stands now, it is just but an outlier to his actual performance in the wet.

        Stroll, though he has a tinge bit of talent, is still too young for F1. I know he probably thinks he’s on Verstappen’s level but he isn’t ever going to be in the same level. If it wasn’t for his money I’d suggest Williams make him the 3rd driver and hire Werhlein and Kubica.

        1. don’t get the constant praise for Stroll for his Monza quali. If it was something he replicated in any other wet session in the season, I’d understand it but as it stands now, it is just but an outlier to his actual performance in the wet.

          How many other wet sessions did we have? Singapore? Stroll did a very decent job there. The start of Chinese GP? He collided with Perez, so we didn’t get to see what he could have done (It was just his second race anyway). Great Britain was the only other occasion where it rained (in the qualy), and the only occasion Stroll didn’t impress.

          To be honest, you use the term “outlier” for Stroll’s qualifying performance in Monza, but using your very own logic, I say there haven’t been enough rainy sessions to use any kind of analysis on his wet-weather abilities i.e. there aren’t enough samples to reach any kind of concrete conclusion, including yours.

          I know he probably thinks he’s on Verstappen’s level but he isn’t ever going to be in the same level

          I don’t think you’ve watched any of Stroll’s interviews. He comes across as a humble kid well aware of his shortcomings. However, he almost never exudes any kind of negativity and always seems to be finding ways to improve himself.

          Yup, his money has played a big role in saving his seat in F1, and Stroll is definitely no Verstappen (probably never might be), but your comment does him injustice.

          1. +1

            When looking at his racing before F1 there is obvious and exceptional talent. This obviously is amplified by his father’s money and influence but people seem to forget you can’t just buy any F1 seat, even for a team like Williams that works on a smaller budget you will need to prove you can do well before-hand and I felt like Stroll did that.

          2. Thanks for jumping in with a bit more qualification on the merits of Stroll to defend me there @neutronstar!

            Yeah, I think it really is hard and too early to really judge Stroll’s wet merits, but his showing in a few occasions we did get certainly points to a promise that IS there.

  2. Agree. You simply cannot have a driver that scores as many points as a Sauber when your teammate is fighting for points constantly.

    I won’t miss him I’m afraid

  3. “Had it not been for Pierre Gasly’s clashing Super Formula commitment in Austin that would have been it for Kvyat.”

    Though would it? If I remember correctly, it was confirmed that Kvyat would return alongside Gasly for Austin. And at that time, Hartley had not even been mentioned in the discussions.

  4. It’s a real pity. He never recovered from Red Bull demotion though he had skill and speed and some things to iron. After his return to Torro Rosso he’s never been able to even get back to his initial form and even less to iron out the misjudgments he sometimes had. Austria and Silverstone were the final nails in the coffin. I hope he can blossom in other categories as he does have quite some talent.

    1. @spoutnik Perversely Kvyat can look to Hartley’s return for inspiration!

  5. I think Kvyat is the perfect example of a driver with a lot of talent & potential been promoted before they were ready & crumbling as a result of the pressure.

    He wasn’t ready for F1, He wasn’t ready to be put in a top car & then didn’t get as much help or support as he quite clearly needed in dealing with it. It was clear as soon as he lost the RBR seat that it had badly affected him mentally & it’s been clear for a long time since that he needed more help than STR & the whole Red Bull program was giving him.

    He showed flashes of what he’s capable of & should he be able to rebuild his clearly destroyed confidence & get a 2nd chance at F1 in a different environment I think he’d do a lot better than what we have seen of him this time round.

    1. @stefmeister

      I think Kvyat is the perfect example of a driver with a lot of talent & potential been promoted before they were ready & crumbling as a result of the pressure.

      Got to disagree. He did really well in his rookie season, and fairly decently in his sophomore season. It was just unlucky that Red Bull had a driver like Verstappen in their lineup and they had to drop either Kvyat or Ricciardo. He was not mentally tough enough to handle F1, and I don’t necessarily think that’s an issue with his age.

  6. This season and the last convinced me that Kvyat might have it in him to be a great racing driver. But I am pretty sure that he was pushed into Red Bull too soon, and then he never really seemed to mentally recover from being dropped.

    Probably good for him to take a break from F1, do something else and who knows, maybe in another 2-5 years he can come back to the sport (take an example from Hartley) with his self confidence restored and perform. Or just have a good time racing something else, in a team that supports him. He might feel relieve from not driving for STR any more. And I think the sport can also feel relieved not to watch this young guy disintegrate even more.

  7. I do feel for Kvyat, the guy is clearly quick and no one who has an opinion worth listening to doubts that, but he has had a couple of awful seasons and probably deserves to be out of a drive. It’s a shame, but he isn’t the first quick guy to be cast aside by F1 and he won’t be the last. I still get the sense that, in the right environment, he could deliver on his potential and become a solid Grand Prix driver but I doubt he’d get another second chance now (particularly seeing how unusually accommodating Red Bull were with him).

  8. I think RB could’ve handled it better. Not every kid is Max. Some need nurturing and will have dips. Most drivers wipe out a lot in their early years, its just forgiven less now.

    But his sullen, surly and entitled manner, in front of camera, if repeated behind it, would also give a clue as to why he was cut off at the ankles.

    Also we will see how the Hulk deals with the Sainz families, arm round your shoulder, ice pick in your back approach to the pitlane politics. I expect he will deal with it much better than DK but when someone as hewn from granite as Franz Tost has had enough you know there may be trouble ahead.

  9. I started following Kvyat’s progress long time before he made his debut in F1. He impressed me back then; however, in F1 he always seemed to be one step behind where he should be.

    I guess we will never know for sure whether he was always destined to fail as an F1 driver or whether he was simply thrown into the shark pond too soon and otherwise could have become a race winner. However, it is undeniable that Red Bull are always looking for the next Vettel / Verstappen and do not really care much about the rest.

    While Red Bull’s attitude is understandable, I think it also shows disrespect for F1 history, which has never been just about zeros and heroes. Rubens Barrichello and David Coulthard would most probably fail Red Bull’s “Vettel test”, too. Yet I do not believe that F1 history would have been richer without such drivers. That is why I would prefer to see a successful McLaren team over Red Bull in their current guise, just like I would not mind if Toro Rosso were magically replaced by Jordan Grand Prix or Hesketh Racing.

  10. OmarRoncal - Go Seb!!! (@)
    6th December 2017, 18:25

    I agree with many here, than Kvyat should find another Motorsport form and settle his head there for a couple of years. I think that a better comparison with his case is not Hartley, but Grosjean. He didn’t impress at first, but then returned to Lotus. Then again, he almost produced a tragedy at Spa, but redeemed himself and has settled as a better driver now (not brilliant, just better).

  11. I totally get Toro Rosso’s decision to drop Kvyat (albeit the way it was handled was shambolic and came across like they would rather have anyone in the car but him), the race performances were not good enough compared to Sainz and to be brutally honest, the manner of them, with certain incidents made it doubly bad.

    However… and it might be controversial, but i reckon we need to look at his circumstance in judging him.

    He never recovered from the dropping at Red Bull, he was constantly under severe pressure to shine, especially given Verstappens performance in the car he vacated and Kvyat’s own shaky form when his confidence was clearly shot. Sainz is a top driver in waiting (as proven by Verstappen and how well matched he was to him as a team mate) and Kvyat at least showed in terms of raw pace, he was there or there abouts. Races are where the points are scored however and it seems that pressure to outshine Sainz was too great, but it’s hard not to feel now he’s clear of the Red Bull umbrella and the direct comparisons aren’t on him, he could shine at another team. The pace is there and a settled environment might help him find consistency. I do reckon his F1 career being deemed over would be way too harsh for a young guy who did show pace under some difficult circumstances.

  12. My overall ratings of 2017:
    1st Fernando Alonso
    2nd Max Verstappen
    3rd Lewis Hamilton
    4th Sebastian Vettel
    5th Esteban Ocon
    6th Nico Hulkenberg
    7th Sergio Perez
    8th Daniel Ricciardo
    9th Carlos Sainz
    10th Valterri Bottas
    11th Felipe Massa
    12th Stoffel Vandoorne
    13th Romain Grosjean
    14th Pascal Wehrlein
    15th Kevin Magnussen
    16th Marcus Ericsson
    17th Kimi Raikkonen
    18th Lance Stroll
    19th Daniil Kvyat
    20th Jolyon Palmer

    1. I like it. I could see why each driver is in their place. Let’s see where Keith’s end up!

    2. Seems ok overall, but as bad as raikkonen did I think he should be just out of the top 10 and bottas and ricciardo should be better placed too.

    3. @f1frog

      I’m a huge fan of Alonso, but there’s no way he was the best driver this year. He was really solid and I’d put him in my top 4, but not ahead of Verstappen, Hamilton and Vettel this season.

      Also think it’s a little harsh on Kimi to be below Marcus, Pascal, Kevin and Romain. The Sauber and Haas drivers were all mediocre this season. I’m pretty sure Kimi could have beaten those 4 drivers if he was their teammate, so it’s unwarranted to have him that low. I’d actually place him at 11th, just above Felipe.

    4. Alonso and Verstappen ahead of Vettel and Hamilton? It’s a good thing this is subjective. Verstappen made too many mistakes and errors of judgement (eg Hungary and Monza) to be considered as having the most complete season. And whatever others may say- he was “outscored” by his team mate for the second year running.

      Alonso- I think people are still riding on the nostalgia.

  13. You ranked Kvyat exactly where I would have put him. Obviously faster than that slug of Palmer, but reckless and error prone. His teammate clashes were shocking, but not surprisinug, considering how he ended up back in a Toro Rosso. He was lucky to have a seat this year.

    That being said, he’s a reasonably fast driver, if he got the kinks worked out I’d like to see him in another team, without the Red Bull pressure.

    1. it would be interesting to take a look

  14. Taking into account their equipments’ competitiveness, I’d rate Kvyat lower than Palmer.
    But of course, the last place should be Ericsson’s

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