Daniil Kvyat: Not done yet
Daniil Kvyat’s Formula 1 results aren’t typical of a solid midfield runner. In fact, they’re more akin to that of a notorious school-goer whose report card has more examinations where he failed to write the paper than he collected points from.
Kvyat now has over 100 F1 race entries, from which he’s collected two podiums, but nineteen career DNFs.
So what do you do if you are a principal administering such a student? Do you show him the door or do you tread patiently?
Where the Torpedo has excelled
Frankly, there’s always a particular subject – if not more- where a student holds his own. If we were to refresh our memories, then rewinding back to the events at the most recent F1 race – the 2020 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix – would serve a
handy reminder why Daniil Kvyat hasn’t really flunked.
In F1, you ought to be taken seriously if you can hold your own against a heavyweight. In the closing stages of the Grand Prix at Imola, Daniil Kvyat was pushing none other than Daniel Ricciardo.
Defending for all his might, the Renault driver found his RS 20 challenged – if
not bettered – particularly in the corners of a track punctuated by nineteen turns.
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While the great Lewis Hamilton, who hasn’t put a foot wrong this year, was
authoring the narrative at the front, the battles a bit further down involved a Daniel versus Daniil tussle.
Few may have even humoured themselves to believe that there was no chance for the AlphaTauri to challenge the visibly superior Renault machine. But in a race where Pierre Gasly race retired, there was only one Alpha Tauri in business.
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It would finish only eighth-tenths shy of the Renault upon the conclusion of the 63-Lap run. Imola was not only the best result the Russian’s garnered all year, far from it.
Daniil’s improvements have been outside the races too
The fact that he has improved drastically on his qualifying performance pointed to potential that must now be immediately tapped into. After all, the Russian has been battling others and often his own theatrics on the grid for well over half a decade, having first raced in F1 in 2014.
Even though the Ufa-born driver did not usurp the Australian at Imola, his fighting P4 in the end ensured that Alpha Tauri collected twelve strong points. This was a drive that perhaps may even have rekindled interest in a career that’s hardly taken seriously.
But can Daniil Kvyat blame anyone else for generating a rather insipid response to his F1 stint?
With just four races remaining and a high possibility of seeing some more closely-fought shootouts in the midfield, the untrained mind might reckon that not Kvyat but his teammate Pierre Gasly may strike back to form.
Can Kvyat Stay in F1 for 2021?
Truth be told, time may be running out for the talented Russian.
Speaking from the perspective of the recent results, Gasly’s DNF, that came after strong points, command more attention than Daniil Kvyat’s best result for 2020.
Kvyat must use his Imola result as a base on which to build further impressive results.
Careless bashing be darned, his 2020 results point to a weakness that persistently features. That he’s featured inside the top-five just once (Imola’s fourth) but finished outside the top-ten on seven in thirteen occasions says it all.
What must hurt Daniil Kvyat more than anything, even more than his thirteenth
(with 26 points) in the Driver’s Standings (in comparison to Gasly’s tenth), is the fact that he’s fared poorly despite having the same machine as his teammate.
READ MORE: F1 2020: THE YEAR OF THE HONEYBADGER
While to his credit, Pierre Gasly, who’s been through a lot, in life, in F1, perhaps outside the ambit of emotional expression, has a race win, the happy-go-
lucky Kvyat hasn’t even collected a podium.
This is when the AT01 is far from being a slacker. Think how the two Alfa Romeos
have fared this year, having once garnered a P4 and P5 in 2019 (Interlagos).
We are seeing how George Russell, with his indomitable will, is punching above the weight of his Williams in 2020.
Could it be that Daniil Kvyat is lacking the drive to survive?
In a sport where the usage of the phrase ‘cut throat competition’ is the biggest truth apart from being a cliché none can better, surely you ought to think
Kvyat can do better.
Purely from the point of experience, this isn’t some Johnny come lately in F1; the fiery Russian debuted aged 20 and would soon go onto to drive for one of the fastest names on the grid in Red Bull.
It can be intimidating for any young driver to find himself in a team where the great Sebastian Vettel upped the game, winning four world titles on the trot (2010-13).
The stakes are high. Nothing shy than brilliant will do, the team having witnessed glory in successively in the recent past.
So when Kvyat, 26, arrived at the Milton Keynes-based outfit after just a year at the Scuderia Toro Rosso (now Alpha Tauri), there were underlining fears he may just never be able to hit the soft spots. This is a team known for its ruthlessness in the way it often hires and then fires youngsters.
What does Daniil need to do?
It’s essentially what Kvyat did in the 2015 world championship that must
reignite that lost fire in 2020. How many of us probably remember that Daniil beat Daniel back then?
In garnering 95 points to the ‘Honeybadger’s’ 92, the straight-talking Russian outscored the smiling Australian as Red Bull stormed to Fourth in the Constructor’s Championship.
Before Albon collected a maiden podium, before Verstappen, the only one to be
throwing a few punches to Mercedes apart from threatening to headbutt others in media pressers formed quite a reputation, there was Daniil Vyachelavovich Kvyat.
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Where’s that focused and consistent driver gone to now?
What doesn’t help the Russian is that the current crop of competitors are second to none. Lando made last-lap overtakes right at the start of this season. Sainz has only grown in his craft as a racer.
Gasly has already won a Grand Prix driving the same machine and set-up as Kvyat. Moreover, the Racing Points are no slouch.
But as the Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein said, “That which cannot be
said, must not be said!”
We won’t pass judgment on the career of a man who, at 26, is still young and
perhaps trying to still have a go to make things better.
But is he really raring to go and on the edge akin to Pierre (who’s made more points with 3 DNFs to Daniil’s 2) can’t be said.
In fact, must not be said.
Comparison to Gasly
Kvayt’s 2020 results
|1||Austrian GP||P13||12 (DNF)|
|4||British GP||P14||18 (DNF)|
|5||70th Anniversary||P16||10 (beat Gas)|
|7||Belgian GP||P11 (beat Gas)||11|
|9||Tuscan GP||P12 (beat Gas)||7 (beat Gas)|
|10||Russian GP||P12||8 (beat Gas)|
So far, from 13 races, Kvyat has got 2 DNFs and 7 finishes outside points.
Imola was his best drive.
He’s only finished inside top-five on one occasion, through P4, Round-13.
He’s finished inside top-ten on 6 occasions.
A small patch of good form came through Italy (9th), Tuscany (7th) and Russia (8th) (not too strong when compared to his teammate though).
Gasly had a poor start, rather a slow start immediately after scoring P7 first race.
A P15, followed by DNF, which was again followed by a P7 didn’t help his case.
He’s had more DNFs than Kvyat, 3 compared to the Russian’s 2.
A good patch, following or post the epic Monza win was – Russia (P9), followed by a P6 at Nuburgring and then a P5 at Portimao.
He’s had 2 two Top-five finishes, including Portuguese GP and Monza race.
In 8 out of 13 races, he finished inside top-10.