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Daniil Kvyat "loving" F1 once again after spectacular Singapore skirmishes

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Daniil Kvyat "loving" F1 once again after spectacular Singapore skirmishes
Sep 19, 2016, 11:09 PM

Daniil Kvyat says he is “loving” Formula 1 racing again after he finished ninth in the Singapore Grand Prix last weekend.

Daniil Kvyat says he is “loving” Formula 1 racing again after he finished ninth in the Singapore Grand Prix last weekend.

The Toro Rosso driver scored his first points since the British Grand Prix with a feisty drive on the Marina Bay circuit.

For a large chunk of the race, Kvyat battled Max Verstappen, who was promoted to Red Bull in place of the Russian just before the Spanish Grand Prix.

Daniil Kvyat

On laps 18-21 the pair fought fiercely over ninth place, with Verstappen frustrated by Kvyat on several occasions at the exit of Turn 7.

Although the scrap cost Kvyat time versus Fernando Alonso and Sergio Perez – two drivers he had out-qualified that finished in front of him in seventh and eighth at the finish – it was clear that he was not going to move over for the driver who replaced him at Red Bull.

Speaking after the race, a clearly delighted Kvyat, who has often appeared downbeat since he re-joined Toro Rosso, described how the race had reignited his passion for F1.

Daniil Kvyat

He said: “I enjoyed it, I loved it again. All these months were a big test for my passion and I’m loving it again so it’s mega. I pushed until the very last cm and left my soul on the track.”

Verstappen was able to pass Kvyat later in the race and went on to finish sixth, but the Russian driver made a spirited pursuit of Perez in eighth and fell just half a second short of his best result since Silverstone as his car’s 2015 specification engine was not able to compete with the straight line speed performance of the Force India.

“Unfortunately, after a first good stint things didn't come together as expected,” he explained. “We ended up behind Perez and didn't have enough straight-line speed to overtake him. But I'm happy to finish in the points again. In all fairness, the team did a good job after what's been a tough period."

Franz Tost

Toro Rosso team boss Franz Tost praised Kvyat’s drive in the Singapore night race, but insisted that his team would need to quickly refocus on the upcoming races in Malaysia and Japan where its engine power deficit will make further points finishes unlikely.

He said: “Daniil did a very good race. He was fighting against Alonso and defended quite well against Max, but couldn't overtake Perez at the end of the race because we simply miss some speed on the straights.

“Therefore, he finished in P9. Let's shift our focus quickly towards the next couple of back-to-back races in Malaysia and Japan."

Daniil Kvyat

Kvyat’s Singapore performance has come at a crucial time for his F1 career. Shortly before the mid-season break he sounded like his confidence was shattered and it did not seem impossible that Red Bull would drop him from its junior squad before the 2016 season was over.

Although he has driven solidly since the summer break, Toro Rosso has generally been falling down the F1 grid as the lack of updates to its 2015 Ferrari power unit have become clearer compared to the pace of its midfield rivals running 2016 engines.

There were rumours about Kvyat being replaced by GP2 championship leader, and Red Bull junior, Pierre Gasly for Singapore and although these turned out to be unsubstantiated, the Russian’s performance last weekend will boost both his confidence and chances of staying on at Toro Rosso in 2017.

Pierre Gasly

Senior Red Bull figures have spoken about possibly keeping Kvyat in F1 next season but the real problem he faces is if Gasly wins the GP2 championship. The Frenchman cannot return to the F1 support series if he wins it this year and would argue that such a result shows he is ready to step up.

With Carlos Sainz already confirmed at the Faenza-based team for a third year, the pre-summer break Kvyat did not look likely to be retained if Gasly won the GP2 title. But with both drivers now performing, Red Bull faces a tough call – something it has not been afraid of in the past – over Toro Rosso’s line up in 2017.

Sainz “angry” after Singapore start collision

Sainz qualified an impressive sixth on the grid – his best performance since the Hungarian Grand Prix – but he could only finish 14th after colliding with Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg when avoiding Verstappen’s slow starting car. This led to him having to make an enforced pitstop to remove a loose aero part before an ERS problem later robbed his car of power.

Carlos Sainz

After the race, Sainz could not hide his frustration at not scoring points at the Marina bay track after his high qualifying position.

He said: "I'm angry after today's race, especially after having qualified in P6 yesterday. Days like today are very frustrating – nothing went right and when you have these kind of opportunities – starting P6 at a circuit like Singapore – you need to make sure you take them and today we didn't.

“But I stay positive: the level of performance we've shown this weekend has been amazing and points would've certainly been possible tonight. It's time to look forward to the next two races in Malaysia and Japan, where hopefully we'll achieve a better result than today."

What did you make of Kvyat’s performance in the Singapore Grand Prix? Do you think he’ll be retained in 2017? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below or head over to the JAonF1 Facebook page for more discussion.

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Series Formula 1
Drivers Carlos Sainz Jr. Shop Now , Pierre Gasly