Austrian Grand Prix – Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat says that it’s too difficult to compare his situation prior to being demoted from Red Bull to the problems Pierre Gasly is currently going through.
The Russian driver has made a strong comeback to Formula 1 with Toro Rosso this year, having been dropped entirely by Red Bull at the end of 2017. A year on the sidelines as a simulator driver revitalised his career, and Kvyat has come back a more assured driver with constant praise from his team boss Franz Tost.
Having driven for Red Bull in 2015 and early 2016 before being demoted to Toro Rosso in favour of Max Verstappen, Kvyat says he isn’t paying any attention to the rumours linking him with a return to Red Bull to replace Pierre Gasly:
“I haven’t been following any rumours surrounding Gasly. Rumours come and go and my job doesn’t change. I’m a Toro Rosso driver now and my job is to be as good as possible and bring home results. I’m having a very good run with the team right now and I’m concentrating on being strong at Toro Rosso and nowhere else.”
“I just am doing my job, I’m a driver and I drive a car. I drive a Formula 1 car for Toro Rosso and that’s what Red Bull have hired me to do. If things will change, then I will react accordingly. Aside from that, I have nothing to say.”
Gasly in under pressure to perform after a subdued opening third of the season, being comprehensively beaten by teammate Verstappen. Worse, Gasly struggled to finish in the points last time out in France. While Verstappen came home P4, Gasly finished P11 but inherited a point when Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo picked up a time penalty on the final lap.
When asked about whether he sees similarities between his problematic start to 2016 and Gasly’s slow start this year, Kvyat said it’s difficult to compare: “Things were different for me in 2016. Every driver feels different in different situations. It’s hard to compare my situation to Pierre’s. It was not an easy period but, in F1, it’s never too easy. There was a lot of things going on, but I also had some good races at that time. From the minute I joined Red Bull, there was a lot of things going on but I had really good races. It was generally OK but I don’t know how it is compared to others.”
Asked about whether he would be ready to return to Red Bull, hypothetically, if the situation arose, Kvyat refused to be drawn but said that he was continuing to focus on his own performance: “Coming into this season, I said that I was going to let my driving and results talk. I’m going to continue that way and not speak aloud in words.”
I’m really happy with how this season is going, and the midfield is really how racing should be. This is how racing should be with the top teams as, for us, it’s always very close. If someone in the midfield finds a step, like McLaren did in Paul Ricard – there’s not much we could have done there to match them. It’s a very interesting area to race in. It’s always fighting nicely with nice battles too.”