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Breakthrough result for Kvyat under pressure from Red Bull bosses

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Breakthrough result for Kvyat under pressure from Red Bull bosses
May 27, 2015, 7:45 PM

If the essence of a great career is a keen sense timing then perhaps Daniil Kvyat is on the right trajectory.

If the essence of a great career is a keen sense timing then perhaps Daniil Kvyat is on the right trajectory.

The 21-year-old Russian has had a disappointing start to the season, but delighted team boss Christian Horner with his fourth place finish in Monaco last weekend, a positive response if ever there was one to the public comments from Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko about the recent performances of the Toro Rosso drivers amounting to veiled threats to the Red Bull drivers.

As the junior driver in the senior team and having operated in the shadow of team mate Daniel Ricciardo up until last weekend, Kvyat arrived in Monaco with the weight of considerable expectation on his neophyte shoulders.

Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - Monaco Grand Prix - Saturday - Monte Carlo, Monaco

With all of 24 races under his belt and as the third youngest driver on the grid Kvyat might have hoped for a little more latitude in finding his feet at the Milton Keynes team after a single season at Toro Rosso. However, as the likes of Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastian Buemi to name but two have discovered in the past, the Red Bull conveyer belt moves almost as rapidly as its cars and a big performance was called for.

That Kvyat emerged from the most pressured weekend of the season at, arguably, its most challenging track with both his career and his sanity intact will not have gone unnoticed in the Red Bull corridors of power.

Although he gave best to Ricciardo in qualifying when the latter endured an engine map 'snafu', he was within touching distance of his team mate having headed him in the first two elements of qualifying suggesting the car's potential was being approached.

After eventually heading his team mate at the end of the race to secure fourth place after some tactical shuffling, his team boss Horner paid tribute to the exceptional team work displayed by both drivers.

“I think it was a great race for Kvyat,” said Horner. “He had a good start. His pace was good in the race. He delivered when he needed to, he managed the tyres extremely well and it's his best finish in Formula One so far. So he’s had a very positive weekend.”

"I think the drivers have done a super job this weekend. Dany Kvyat, a great performance and great teamwork. With Ricciardo we had a free stop after Perez stopped to put a set of supersofts on the car.

"He managed a brave move to get past Kimi and then it made sense to switch the drivers on the understanding that if he couldn't pass the cars ahead he would have to give the position back and they both played very nicely."

It's a plan Kvyat was well aware of and the fact that he displayed impressive pace all weekend in Monaco and allied that to a strong team ethic is another feather in his cap come contract review time.

Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - Monaco Grand Prix - Sunday - Monte Carlo, Monaco

It was a timely reversal of fortune for Kvyat who had had to endure the public reproval from Marko ahead of the trip to the Principality following his difficulties in holding off Sainz in Barcelona.

"But we also have two exceptional junior drivers," Marko insisted to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport last week. "If we were to tell our young drivers to hold back, that would be completely counterproductive. How would that motivate them?"

"Kvyat lost two seconds each time he was lapping (another car). And Sainz exploited that."

Whatever about the Toro Rosso drivers motivation, Kvyat's dander was clear up when he touched down for F1's most hectic race weekend, helped no doubt by a positive test session in Barcelona after the Spanish Grand Prix.

While the two Red Bulls combined to score their best haul of the season, the Toro Rosso pairing had to make do with a single point for Kvyat's bete noire Carlos Sainz who only gleaned that scant reward following the spectacular crash endured by team mate Max Verstappen which earned the Dutchman a stiff neck and a five-place grid penalty.

What next for Kvyat? Well the fact remains that Monaco, for all its exceptional challenges, remains an oddity among modern race tracks, even other street tracks.

Other circuits will expose a power deficit with Renault and while downforce is maximised in Monaco, aero efficiency is less important so there is certainly no guarantee that Red Bull can carry this form to Canada.

Add in the looming spectre of engine change grid penalties and there are challenges aplenty awaiting Kvyat and his Red Bull cohorts in the races to come but he can take considerable succour from the quality of his response last weekend.

How do you assess Kvyat's start to the season?
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