Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso, Hockenheimring, 2019

2019 F1 driver rankings #16: Daniil Kvyat

2019 F1 season review

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Daniil Kvyat had a mixed season. He scored a superb third place for Toro Rosso in Germany – the team’s second visit to the podium in its 14-year history – but was generally out-shone by his two different teams mates over the course over the year.

Combine Alexander Albon and Pierre Gasly’s points tallies from their races alongside Kvyat this year and they outscored him 48 to 37. This despite Albon being as new as a newcomer can be – he’d never driven an F1 car before February – and Gasly having to adjust to a new chassis at mid-season.

Over the first part of the season Kvyat and Albon were reasonably closely matched, which was too close for Kvyat’s comfort given Albon’s experience. While his third place finish in Germany was fully merited, the outcome rested on a tyre gamble which Kvyat was only in a position to make because he spent most of the race behind his team mate, who produced a superb drive in challenging conditions.

Following Red Bull’s mid-season seat swap, Pierre Gasly appeared alongside Kvyat for the rest of the year at Toro Rosso. Despite the advantage of familiarity, Kvyat was comfortably out-scored by Gasly, though his troubles weren’t entirely of his own making.

A loss of oil pressure at Monza cost Kvyat a likely sixth place after an excellent drive. His home race was also ruined by a series of technical problems during practice.

Daniil Kvyat

Beat team mate in qualifying 7/19
Beat team mate in race 10/17
Races finished 18/21
Laps spent ahead of team mate 565/1182
Qualifying margin +0.09
Points 37

However Kvyat also found himself on the back foot because Gasly regularly out-qualified him. He failed to get out of Q1 in Singapore and Brazil – the latter having a serious effect on the points difference between them as Gasly reached Q3 and went on to finish second. Kvyat couldn’t match Gasly’s one-lap pace at Suzuka, either.

Following his latest return to Toro Rosso, Kvyat amassed enough starts to become Toro Rosso’s longest-serving driver. That being so, he really should have cut out the kind of mistakes in wheel-to-wheel combat which earned him the ‘torpedo’ moniker.

But that carelessness was evident again in his tangles with the McLaren drivers in China, or Antonio Giovinazzi in Bahrain. Later in the season Kvyat was on course for points in Mexico and the USA but picked up penalties for late-race collisions with Hulkenberg and Perez respectively. He didn’t avail himself of either opportunity to admit his error, so we can probably expect more of the same next year.

But the most telling verdict on Kvyat’s efforts came from Red Bull. On two occasions they could have recalled their most experienced junior driver to the top team, and both times they chose Albon over him. With Gasly rebounding so impressively from his Red Bull ejection, it’s hard to see Kvyat getting another chance with them, though we should never assume too much when it comes to their young driver programme.

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Over to you

What’s your verdict on Daniil Kvyat’s 2019 season? Which drivers do you feel he performed better or worse than? Have your say in the comments.

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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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15 comments on “2019 F1 driver rankings #16: Daniil Kvyat”

  1. Worse than Magnussen? You’re having a laugh

    1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      14th December 2019, 9:18

      Yea I’ve got to disagree with this. Magnussen was worse than Grosjean IMO, I would have Kvyat 14th I think ahead of Grosjean, then Magnussen.

      And this thing that implies he gets his “torpedo” nickname was his wheel to wheel mistakes. What earned him that name was Vettel’s opinion that he did something wrong when it was just Vettel making the biggest deal ever about a perfectly legitimate move. He’s been called that name more rightly so, but what earned him it was not a mistake in any way.

      And I think it is a bit unreasonable to point blame at Kvyat in Bahrain:


      Kvyat does take quite a tight line, but Giovinazzi doesn’t make the corner without running wide. From Giovinazzi’s slow hand gesture, it looked in a way more like an apology than anger towards Kvyat. Don’t really understand why this is a negative of his season.

      1. @thegianthogweed Same thing that happened with Grosjean that people only remember him as driver that do stupid things and crash. Grosjean start at Spa 2012 is bad and dangerous for sure, but other drivers has done similar stuff before. His only mistake is he taking out Alonso and Hamilton. Similarly, Kvyat mistake is only tangling with 4 times reigning WDC. If Grosjean takes out 2 midfield driver instead and Kvyat tangling with midfield driver, both accident won’t be remembered by most fans.

    2. @hahostolze
      Would have to agree. I rated him higher than Magnussen… But not by much.
      He did have a few strong races in the first half, but a demoted Gasly got the better of him in the 2nd half of the season, so it’s rate Kvyat highly.

      I think Magnussen at #16 and Kvyat at #15 seems like a stronger reflection of thei seasons.

  2. I would have Kvyat 14th

    I can understand arguments that Magnussen should be lower, but who else would you slot in below Kvyat?
    Gasly, who clearly beat him after the summer break?
    Raikkonen? Hulkenberg? Albon?

    1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      14th December 2019, 10:55

      Kvyat, Grosjean, Magnussen, Gasly, Giovinazzi, Stroll, Kubica.

      I think i am against Giovinazzi more than others. I think myself that the car has been much better than last year and he didn’t get many more points than Ericsson. I know Ericsson ahd far more experience, but he got no end of criticism. Kimi got more points than Leclerc last year (who got no end of praise) and Kimi himself is no longer very highly rated. I think Kimi went downhill in the 2nd half making Giovinazzi look better than he was.

      Gasly was just so, so bad in the first half and because of this, i don’t think I could rate him that high for the 2nd half alone. Both Grosjean and Magnussen have had a few good races, but they haven’t had quite as longer run of terrible ones as Gasly. Stroll and Kubica also have pretty clear reasons to be rated behind Kvyat.

      1. Gasly was just so, so bad in the first half

        I don’t really like Pierre, but to his defence if his teammate was, for example, Vettel or Bottas you would have seen his season a lot better and maybe blamed the car for the pace. But Verstappen was so superb up to the summer break that he really carried the team and made the car look better than it was. And to Gasly’s dispair, made him look really really bad.

        If you look at Albon’s races, he was only marginally better than Gasly, but the car was more developed by half-season and easier to drive, plus VER didn’t have the such a strong 2nd half of the season.

        1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
          14th December 2019, 14:40

          the number of races gasly was behind other cars though that were not in the top 3 teams. Could not get by Kvyat in Australia for example. I really don’t think Kvyat should be rated behind Gasly this season. Kvyat hasn’t been that good at any stage, but i don’t think he was close to as bad as gasly was at Red Bull. yes, verstappen was his team mate, but plenty of other drivers in worse cars were beating him.

        2. @gechichan ”but the car was more developed by half-season and easier to drive”
          – Maybe it was easier to drive for him because (possibly) his driving-style is closer to that of Max. This is a possible theory that could explain why/how he got to grips with the RB15 quicker than his predecessor despite no chance to test it beforehand. Some drivers seem to struggle more with cars designed around a driving-style different from that of the driver in question than others.

  3. Dutchguy (@justarandomdutchguy)
    14th December 2019, 16:39

    How is Kvyat lower than Magnussen? at least he didn’t hit his team as often

  4. Cristiano Ferreira
    14th December 2019, 21:38

    Like i said before, i think Kvyat will be next “Hulkenberg” in 2020 and will be out of a ride in the end of the season if he doesn’t up his game. He is already too old for Toro Rosso / Alpha Tauri and the team (and RBR) knowns what they can expect from him.

    I wont be surprised if he gets fired mid season to open the way for some rookie, more likely someone backed by Honda.

    2020 looks like will be Kvyat last year in F1. I hope not because i like him, but that’s the sad truth.

    1. Cristiano Ferreira
      14th December 2019, 21:40

      And i forgot to add that Gasly (or Albon) will be next “gatekeeper / benchmark” at Toro Rosso, instead of Kvyat that had that role until now.

  5. Kvyat is better then Gasly and Albon in my opinion when he has no pressure to perform. When Marko was talking to his manager about a possible promotion to Red Bull his performance dipped.. Then on 29 October when Marko said to the Media he was in Contention for a 2020 Red Bull seat. Kvyat did two last lap Torpedo moves in Mexico and USA.. Then when Albon was announced for 2020 his performance went up again.. So without the Marko mind games he is a decent driver. Im betting he will beat Gasly next season.

  6. Kvyat had a really good season.
    He was slightly better than Albon in the first half and not always behind Gasly in the second half.
    This might be a reflection of how close everyone was or is, but he is too far behind.

  7. “On two occasions they could have recalled their most experienced junior driver to the top team, and both times they chose Albon over him.”

    Two times? I remember only once!

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