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Daniil Kvyat on Red Bull seat swap: "sometimes what you do on track is not enough in Formula 1"

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Daniil Kvyat on Red Bull seat swap: "sometimes what you do on track is not enough in Formula 1"
May 12, 2016, 5:39 PM

A dignified Daniil Kvyat faced the media today in Barcelona and said he believes that he was doing everything he could to justify his Formula 1 sea...

A dignified Daniil Kvyat faced the media today in Barcelona and said he believes that he was doing everything he could to justify his Formula 1 seat at Red Bull Racing before last week’s surprise decision to demote him back to Toro Rosso and promote Max Verstappen in his place.

Speaking at the pre-event press conference at the Spanish Grand Prix, Kvyat explained how the verdict had come just as he felt his season with Red Bull was beginning to pick up after a tough start to the year.

Daniil Kvyat Max Verstappen

Kvyat was prevented from starting the Australian Grand Prix by a mechanical failure, for the second year in succession, and then struggled in qualifying in Bahrain.

He said: “It wasn’t my decision. For me, I was working, giving my best every race. We had another very difficult start to the season - I didn’t even manage to start the Australian race again, two years in a row.

“There were some strange things going on in Bahrain, but I believe that since China we picked up a good pace and it was coming. It was a little bit similar to last year; it was getting better race-to-race. Qualifying in Sochi was very competitive and the race pace was also getting better.

XPB.cc Daniil Kvyat

“To be honest, we know that Formula 1 is very a general sport – sometimes hard work and what you do on track is also not enough.”

The 22-year-old described how the situation had taught him a lot about the way Formula 1 works and explained that he felt it had made him stronger, a process that he hopes to turn into positive results for Toro Rosso. The Russian raced for the Italian team for a single season back in 2014, his first year in F1.

He said: “I learned quite a lot in the last few days [and] weeks. And it also made me very strong and I feel very strong now and I’m looking forward to showing it in Toro Rosso with a team that supports me and a team that I feel we have a lot of unfinished business together and I think we should finish it together.”

Daniil Kvyat

Kvyat, who finished on the podium for Red Bull at the Chinese Grand Prix just two races ago, described how he had no choice but to accept Red Bull’s decision and planned to give his loudest response on the track.

He said: “I think the decision was a bit of a shock for myself, but it is what it is at the moment. I have always been giving my answers on the track and I think nothing will change.

“I will try to give as loud [an] answer as possible on the track. There are 17 races remaining. I’ve come back to Toro Rosso, the team for which I raced in 2014, and a [it’s] team I really like a lot. I feel like the team has given me a really warm welcome in the last few days, which I am very grateful for.

“The goals are very clear, for the team and for myself and I will be pushing [to the] absolute limits on the track and I will be giving my answers there.

Daniil Kvyat

When asked if he had been moved to the senior Red Bull F1 squad too soon, Kvyat denied that had been the case and pointed to the Shanghai podium as evidence that he could deliver for the Milton Keynes-based team.

He said: “I really don’t think so. If we look at what happened three weeks ago, or whatever, I was standing on the podium and then suddenly there was a few decisions made around.

“But the bosses make them and I have nothing else but [to] accept them and do my best job possible now in the team I am with.

“It should be ok, but I think I have done everything correctly until now and nothing will change from my side.”

Kvyat “watching Game of Thrones” when he heard swap news

Helmut Marko

Kvyat also revealed that Helmut Marko, the head of Red Bull’s junior motorsport programme, had called him as he watched TV in Moscow to break the news of the swap with Verstappen.

He said: “I was in in Moscow [and] I was lying on the sofa watching a TV series and then the phone call comes. I said ‘hello’ and [Dr Marko] said, ‘well, we have some news for you’ and think it was about a 20-minute talk.

“I wanted, and I think I deserved, a proper explanation and I got to know many interesting details, I must say. [But] I think I’ll keep them to myself for now.

“Dr Marko made the phone call, we finished the call and I went back to bed to finish my TV series – [which was] Game of Thrones.”

Daniil Kvyat Max Verstappen

Verstappen: “not up to me to say who deserved it”

Verstappen, who attended the press conference alongside Kvyat and his former Toro Rosso teammate, Carlos Sainz, explained that he was delighted to join Red Bull and saw the move as no more of a risk to his career than when he made his F1 debut aged 17 at the start of 2015.

He said: “I am very happy with the chance they have given me. I’m racing for a top team now and that was always the plan, what I wanted to do.

“It was a bigger risk to be so young in Formula 1, but I’ve handled it pretty well. From now on it’s just [about] getting used to a new car, which is not easy in the season, but already with the things I have done in the factory have given me a lot of confidence.”

When asked if he deserved to be promoted to Red Bull and Kvyat demoted, Verstappen replied that such decisions were not his to make and he was focused on delivering his best on-track.

Max Verstappen

“[It’s] not up to me to say who deserved it or not. I am happy with the chance they have given to me and I will try to make the best of it and we’ll see where it ends up.”

What do you make of Kvyat and Verstappen’s responses to their seat swap? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below or head over to the JAonF1 Facebook page for more discussion.
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