Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso, Hockenheimring, 2019

“I’d put it in line with one of my best years in F1”

Driver performance analysis: Daniil Kvyat

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Is there any path for Daniil Kvyat which leads back to the Red Bull seat he lost almost four years ago?

Last year was a clear opportunity. At mid-season Red Bull again dispensed with one of its drivers – this time Pierre Gasly, but Kvyat was passed over for the drive in favour of his team mate Alexander Albon.

This was notwithstanding the fact Kvyat had recently scored third place for Toro Rosso in the German Grand Prix, which was only the team’s second podium finish in its history.

The way he tells it, Kvyat isn’t too bothered about being overlooked by Red Bull. Asked in Singapore whether he was disappointed to have missed out on a possible promotion he said “not really.”

“I do my work,” Kvyat continued. “Whatever work they give me, I do. They give me work at Toro Rosso I will do my job at Toro Rosso as good as possible. They give me a job somewhere else I’ll try to do my job as good as possible somewhere else.”

But he did take satisfaction from his 2019 campaign, which he described as one of his best to date.

Qualifying: Lap time

The lower the lines, the better the driver performed

Kvyat’s qualifying performances fluctuated rather too much for someone whose first team mate was a total newcomer to F1, who was then replaced at mid-season by someone who hadn’t driven the Toro Rosso all year. He also found it hard to pull his best sector times together on his flying lap – something he only managed twice all year.

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Race: Start versus finish

Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso, Hockenheimring, 2019
Kvyat scored an unexpected third place in Germany
Although Kvyat mustered 10 points finishes over the course of the year, most of these came in the lower reaches of the points. The conspicuous exception was Hockenheim.

There Kvyat spent much of the rain-hit race running behind team mate Albon. However when the track finally began to dry in the latter stages he spied his opportunity and switched to slicks, jumping ahead of those who were more conservatively-minded. He then took second off Lance Stroll, another driver who’d made the same gamble, but couldn’t stop Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari taking it from him. He nearly got the place back on the final lap, however.

There were a handful of missed opportunities which were out of his control. Notably at Monza, where a fine effort went unrewarded when he suffered a power unit problem, and his home race at Sochi, which was ruined by more Honda trouble.

“I think the team has always performed very well,” Kvyat reflected. “Since the beginning of the year it was quite consistently in the points and always taking the opportunities quite well. With strategy, taking the points which weren’t even there, to still get them was very crucial sometimes.”

Kvyat’s departure from Red Bull followed a few unfortunate high-profile incidents. He caused a few too many collisions last season as well, leading to a series of penalties in China, Mexico and the USA, which he invariably disagreed with. Two of those cost him further points finishes.

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Race: Share of points

Race: Results versus other drivers

Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso, Interlagos, 2019
Tenth place to Gasly’s second in Brazil was a disappointment
Taken as a whole, Kvyat was out-scored over the course of 2019 by the two different drivers who occupied the second Toro Rosso. He finds himself in a kind of awkward middle ground: a Red Bull promotion passed him by, but he has become the longest-serving driver of their “kindergarten” squad.

This can partly be put down to hope on Red Bull’s part that Albon might turn out to be another Max Verstappen, partly down to there being no F1-grade youngsters in the Junior Team ready to take Kvyat’s place, and partly down to Kvyat continuing to show just enough potential to keep them interested.

“I feel very satisfied, to be honest,” he said during a press conference late last year. “I would put it in line with one of my best years in F1 so I’m pretty happy.”

Late in the season another opportunity to break free of the midfield and score a big result passed him by. But about this, too, Kvyat was quite phlegmatic.

“Some races go your way, some races don’t go your way, but this is how our midfield works. It’s very tight and some small mistake can cost you some opportunities like myself in Brazil for example. I definitely lost a very big opportunity there which luckily Pierre, for the team, managed to take.

“But these are the parts of our sport that we all know. I think this year I have been a lot more better driver than my last years in F1.”

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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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15 comments on ““I’d put it in line with one of my best years in F1””

  1. It is sad, when people don’t see (or refuse to see) their true level of performance.

    Mario Karts (which is now officially re-branded from Formula E) is waiting for him with open arms!

  2. Kvyat 2019 – your average midfield drivers wo is decent, but no superstar without dropping into “uhg, please drop him” territory

    1. Funily, he still has more podiums than Hulkenberg (and one of them was in a midgrid team)

      1. But the Hulk has Pole positions in a midfield team…

  3. Hard to judge F1 drivers. Kvyat is a fine example, at times he was faster than DR, then was dropped in favor of generational talent Verstappen.

    Hierarchies start to develop from there. You have old guard Hamilton, conquerer of east, west, north and south, then there are disruptors – aiming for his throne: Verstappen and Leclerc. Then there is old champion Vettel, fallen from grace but still holding some silver of old speed.

    Where do you put midfield drivers like Kvyat? All of them are really good drivers, in their early 20’s who dedicated their life to the sport and are now growing up fixing up their life.

    Hamilton was not this good 10 years ago, well that’s where those boys are at, they are not this good, but competition is this good.

    Kvyat now, having found out he is not a pure #1 in the world, is taking his day one race at a time, doing his job to the best of his ability, not overdoing his talent, yet achieving what is possible.

    Something Riciardo also has to deal with, as does Perez, and many before them. Being excellent but not quite Hamilton level.

    And some like Vettel have an even tougher mountain to climb. Having fallen from WDC level down to just being excellent, that is a tough mental battle, that he is loosing currently.

    Kvyat seems to have put the worst behind him and can now achieve his potential and improve forward.

    1. Kvyat was never faster than Riccardo

      1. He beat Ricciardo in 2015 with a lot less experience.
        For a complete story look here:

        So all in all he really did not bad and more points in 2015 was a good result.

        1. TrickyMario7654
          29th January 2020, 3:43

          Kvyat only beat Ricciardo in 2015 because he had better luck in terms of reliability:

          Look how many points Riccardo lost due to DNFs!

        2. @seth-space From the very article you linked:

          The final points table did not accurately reflect on reality. Kvyat was not the best or the quickest driver of the two over the course of the year—Ricciardo was.

          Which sums it up really. Kvyat was lucky to have beaten Ricciardo on points that year, and was never really at his level. And he didn’t really improve in the first four races of 2016 in that regard.

  4. Good to see Kvyatt is a real teamplayer it seems.
    No quite performing as his talent promised in his starting year. But nevertheless a driver with still some untapped potential and some rookie mistakes.

  5. In Monza it was an oil leak not a Power Unit Problem..

  6. I like him and he could be pretty good, but he has not done enough last year. Sure, 37 points and a podium looks like great season for STR driver, but the other side of the garage scored 48 points and equaled the podium. Kvyat is an intelligent guy and I don’t really understand why he still sees his future with Red Bull. There is little doubt that if anybody else (younger) comes into Dr. Marko’s peripheral vision, Daniil is out of that seat in a snap…even in a middle of season. He should look elsewhere if he wants to be in F1 long time.

  7. Kvyat only has a seat in F1 (Torro Rosso/Alpha whatever it is) unless and until Marko decides he doesn’t- which is surely not going beyond 1-2 more years.

    I’m not sure how being outscored by drivers with less combined years in F1 than you have is good going forward.

  8. Really? We’re still doing this..dreaming.

  9. Cristiano Ferreira
    29th January 2020, 3:41

    This guy needs to leave Red Bull territory ASAP if he still wants to be part of the grid in the future. He will be the first one to get the axe once the next Vettel or Verstappen appears under Marko’s radar.

    Maybe Haas, Renault (if RIC decides to leave) or Sauber (if Kimi decides to leave) are good places for him.

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