Kvyat: Luck has not been on my side this year

Daniil Kvyat was taken out in Germany through no fault of his own and feels that luck has rarely been on his side in 2020.

At the Nurburgring, Kvyat was in with a shot of finishing in the points before Alex Albon hit him, taking off his front-wing and ruining his race.

The AlphaTauri driver ended up crossing the line last of those who finished the race, while team-mate Pierre Gasly took P6.

The margin between the two is now 39 points, and Kvyat feels that this has largely been down to bad luck on his side.

“Unfortunately, the Nürburgring race did not go well for me from lap 12 onward when I got hit by Albon, but these things happen in racing. He got penalised, but my race was damaged from then on and so was my car,” he said.

“Up until then, I was definitely racing for solid points and I had been happy with my lap in Quali. However, the events were out of my control and luck has not been my strongest point this year, to be honest. Nothing seems to have landed in my basket for free. I have had to work hard for everything

“But we will turn the page and move on. We keep working, we keep digging with my engineers and I am still happy with the way we approach each race weekend.

“Our understanding of the car is much better, and it will come right soon. It’s been good for the last few races and it was just this last weekend where we were unable to score points.”

Portimao Circuit

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The Portuguese Grand Prix is next up on the calendar and will see the sport go to Portimao for the first time ever.

Like the majority of the grid, Kvyat has never driven there before, with his only experience of it coming on a simulator.

“I’ve never been to Portimao, so it will be a completely new experience for me and I guess for most of the other drivers. It will be an interesting challenge,” he added.

“A while ago, I did a few laps of the Algarve circuit on the simulator, but it’s not so fresh in my mind. I think we will have to work hard and learn everything we can on Friday and Saturday morning.

“It is quite an unusual layout, with drops and climbs, so something different to work on. We should get ideal weather there at this time of year, in the low 20s maybe, certainly better than the unusual conditions we had at the Nürburgring.”

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Kvyat: Toro Rosso must stay ‘on top of our game’

Daniil Kvyat has called for both Toro Rosso and Honda to improve further in 2020 after the team enjoyed a strong 2019 season. 

Red Bull’s sister team have enjoyed one of their best year’s, finishing P6 in the Constructors’ Championship and taking two podiums.

Kvyat, who got one of them in Germany with a P3 finish, was pleased with both the engine and the chassis but thinks the team can still improve.

“Honda made a big step this year, and next year if it can be even more of a step then it’d be great,” Kvyat said as per gptoday.net.

“From that point, I’m not too worried. I think the progress was good. The chassis was similar. We have to keep working and improving our package.”

The 2021 regulations will most likely shake things and give midfield teams a chance to fight at the top. There are no such changes for 2020 though, and Kvyat says that his team, soon to be known as Alpha Tauri, need to be at their best for another midfield battle.

“It doesn’t seem like there will be a very big regulation change next year in any era so we need to be on top of our game to improve the car as much as we can,” he added.

“Hopefully, we can do that. We can’t set any exact expectations.

“We will probably be around the midfield zone again. It’s going to be tight again, but we’ll try to do our best to be as high up the order as we can.”

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Kvyat: I became a better driver in 2019

Daniil Kvyat rates 2019 as one of his best F1 seasons, and one where he has become a “better” driver.

It has been an up and down career for Kvyat in Formula 1 with Red Bull at the centre of it, and the latest twist came this season when he was recalled to the Red Bull programme and placed at Toro Rosso.

The 25-year-old has impressed since returning though, claiming P3 in Germany and earning P13 in the Drivers’ Championship as he and Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg finished level on 37 points.

It’s easy to see then why he rates 2019 as one of his best seasons.

“I feel very satisfied, to be honest,” he told the F1 website. “I would put it in line with one of my best years in F1 so I’m pretty happy.

“Some races go your way, some races don’t go your way but this is how our midfield works, it’s very tight and some small mistake can cost you some opportunities.

“But these are the parts of our sport that we all know. I think this year I’ve been a better driver than my last years in F1.”

Toro Rosso secured P6 in the Constructors’ with 85 points – a new record points haul for them, and Kvyat believes they also delivered their best season in what was their last as Toro Rosso before becoming Alpha Tauri for 2020.

“Certainly it was a very strong year for Toro Rosso, perhaps the best in the history you may say,” said the Russian driver.

“[It’s] great to be a part of it and the atmosphere in the team this year.

“I think the team has always performed very well. Since the beginning of the year it was quite consistently in the points and always taking the opportunities quite well; with strategy, taking the points which weren’t even there, to still get them was very crucial sometimes. [It’s] a very good boost for next year.”

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Racing Point team boss: Justice prevailed

The US GP stewards were right to penalise Daniil Kvyat as he not only hit Sergio Perez but lined up the pass despite yellow flags, says SportPesa Racing Point team boss Otmar Szafnauer.

Perez and Kvyat were fighting over 10th place on the final lap of the Circuit of the Americas race.

Despite the yellow flags being waved for Kevin Magnussen’s beached Haas, Kvyat did not back off, instead activating his DRS to line up the pass on Perez.

But, for the second race in a row, instead of making a clean move, the Russian racer gave his rival a hefty whack.

Kyvat crossed the line in 10th place but was later handed a five-second penalty for hitting Perez, dropping him to P12.

Perez took 10th and the final point.

“He deserved it,” Szafnauer told Motorsport.com.

“You can’t make up all the time under double-waved yellows and not slow down, and then bounce off the kerbs into someone.

“I think justice prevailed. Without that Sergio would have held him off.

“If you look at the on-board, he just closes up under yellow. So without being able to close up you’ve only got a few turns left and you’re done.

“Checo [Perez] lifted like you’re supposed to – double-waved yellow, you’re supposed to prepare to slow down, not open the DRS.

“Why open the DRS if you’re prepared to lift and stop?”

Sunday’s result means SportPesa Racing Point are one point ahead of Toro Rosso in the battle for sixth in the championship.

“Two races left, so we’ll do all we can to try and catch up,” said Szafnauer.

“You want to finish as high as you can, independent of the money. But the money absolutely does matter.

“We’ve got a fight on our hands there, and we’ve got to maximise our points in the next two races. Anything can happen, but we’ll work hard.”

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High altitude pressing on Toro Rosso in Mexico

Both Pierre Gasly and Daniil Kvyat have highlighted issues arising from the high altitude as being top of their thoughts heading to Mexico City this weekend.

The reduced air pressure means less downforce and reduced engine power and cooling for this weekend’s race, ensuring that the Mexican Grand Prix presents drivers with a unique challenge on the F1 calendar.

“The first day you arrive, you can feel you’re at altitude, but after that you don’t notice it anymore,” said Gasly. “It has a bigger effect on the cars than the drivers.

“We can prepare and train for it, but its more complicated for the engine. Cooling the brakes is a consideration and there is less downforce, so it’s the car that suffers more than we do.

“We put a lot of downforce on the car and you do notice you have less grip as the aero effect is lessened because the air is less dense, so it can be strange.

“We run pretty much maximum rear wing, but the feeling you get is very different to what you would normally expect with that level of downforce.

“It’s always very good to go very fast in a straight line as that’s always exciting. During the race, I reckon we must see some of the highest top speeds of the year.”

Kvyat agreed with his team mate, and added: “The thin air at altitude has an effect on the PU and also the aerodynamics, as there is less drag. It means we hit high top speeds but also run a lot of aero downforce.

“I remember again the first year I went there, I noticed the altitude a bit, you feel a bit lower on energy the first couple of days but then you get used to it and it’s fine.

“It would be nice to train at altitude, but we never have the time as this is a particularly busy part of the season, involving a lot of travelling with long flights.

“Overall it’s an enjoyable weekend,” he added. “I have some good memories here and had a good result a couple of years back, finishing fourth.

“Mexico City is also where we have one of our usual team dinners and, as we head towards the end of the season, it’s nice that everyone gets together in a more relaxed way than at the racetrack.”

Pierre Gasly (FRA) Scuderia Toro Rosso signs autographs for the fans.

Gasly also gave the venue a big thumbs up. A favourite of teams and drivers, the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez has won four-straight ‘Best Promoter’ awards at the end-of-season FIA gala prize giving.

“Last year I took a helicopter trip to visit a Honda factory,” commented the Frenchman. “To see the huge sprawl of Mexico City from the air is a truly impressive sight. The city seems to spread out forever.

“The whole weekend has an amazing atmosphere. I remember last year, during the Drivers’ Parade, I was in a car following Sergio Perez and it was incredible. I don’t think I’ve ever heard so much support for one driver, with people shouting, cheering and screaming. It was madness.

“That stadium area is so impressive, with so many people in it and when they all start shouting it gives you goosebumps. The whole circuit has a big crowd and that’s great to see.”

Despite his enthusiasm for the event, it’s not been a particularly rewarding one for Gasly so far. He was 13th here in his first Grand Prix in Mexico in 2017, but he did battle his way into contention here one year ago.

“I’ve never had much luck there as I had to take engine penalties which dropped me down the grid,” he acknowledged. “Although last year I came from the back row to finish tenth and score a point!”

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Kvyat: Ready for another shot at highest level

It wasn’t that long ago that Daniil Kvyat believed his Formula 1 career was over, but now he is driving better than ever and hopes to get another chance at one of the top teams.

The past few seasons have been a rollercoaster ride for the Russian, but he now seems to finally be finding his best form.

Having made his debut as a 19-year-old for Toro Rosso in 2014, Kvyat found himself in a Red Bull seat the following season. However, three races into the 2016 season and he was back at Toro Rosso.

After nearly two full seasons with the Faenza-based squad, he suddenly found himself on the sidelines as he was dropped by Toro Rosso and also lost his place in the Red Bull development programme.

“My career evolved quickly,” he told the official Formula 1 website. “I’ve had no time. I had to skip a few little steps. It wasn’t a bad thing. Even last year, when I wasn’t racing, I wanted to get back racing. But sometimes, you need to take a little step back to go forward in the future.”

He spent the 2018 seasons as the Ferrari development driver and it did him wonders on and off the track, but he soon found himself back on the race grid as Toro Rosso came calling.

And the 2019 season has gone well so far as he has picked up 33 points and claimed the team’s only podium of the season at a chaotic German Grand Prix.

Needless to say, Kvyat is enjoying his racing again.

“This year, I’ve been driving almost all year at my peak, driving better than ever and using my potential,” he said. “It’s really enjoyable. That’s what makes me enjoy the sport so much and, of course, when the results come with it, it makes you enjoy it even more. So, it’s really good. It has been a good season so far, many points scored and a podium for a team that hasn’t had one for 11 years. It’s a fantastic achievement.”

He added: “My career was over in my mind at some point last year and it was great to get another opportunity from Red Bull. They believed in me again and they offered me this chance to show that I learned from all the crises of the past and now I’m doing a better job.”

His excellent performances have seen him mentioned as a possible team-mate for Max Verstappen at Red Bull next year.

Although Red Bull’s bosses have indicated that it’s a toss up between Alexander Albon and Pierre Gasly.

For now, Kvyat knows it’s about being patient.

“I have no particular plan, especially with Red Bull – it’s hard to have a particular plan,” he says. “Everything is quite open. I need to keep doing the job I’m doing. They said that they were happy with my year so far and just asked me to keep doing this job. They asked me to try to get the highest position possible for this team and then they will see where things will be.

“Whatever way it will go, I need to have patience. I need to accept that sometimes it might take time to get a chance at the highest level. But now I know that whenever the opportunity will come at the highest level, I’m ready. I’m more ready than ever.”

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The provisional Russian GP grid

Daniil Kvyat will start his home race, the Russian Grand Prix, from the very back of the grid after incurring multiple power unit penalties.

The Russian driver arrived at the Sochi circuit aware that penalties awaited, however, it went from bad to worse as a fuel system problem in Friday’s practice as well as an engine issue in Saturday’s final practice meant he was also short of track time.

Kvyat will line up P20 with Robert Kubica in 19th place as the Pole also has multiple engine penalties.

Other drivers penalised included Max Verstappen, Pierre Gasly and Alexander Albon, all engine related.

They will start P9, 16 and 18 respectively with Charles Leclerc on pole position for the fourth race in a row.

The provisional grid
1 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:31.628
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 0.402s
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 0.425s
4 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1.004s
5 Carlos Sainz McLaren 1.594s
6 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1.661s
7 Lando Norris McLaren 1.673s
8 Romain Grosjean Haas 1.889s
9 Max Verstappen Red Bull 0.682s *
10 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 2.033s
11 Sergio Perez Racing Point 1:33.958
12 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo 1:34.037
13 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:34.082
14 Lance Stroll Racing Point 1:34.233
15 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo 1:34.840
16 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso 1:33.950 *
17 George Russell Williams 1:35.356
18 Alexander Albon Red Bull 1:39.197 *
19 Robert Kubica Williams 1:36.474 **
20 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso **

* 5-place power unit penalty
** multiple power unit penalty

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Kvyat denied special helmet livery for home race!

Local hero Dany Kvyat was informed by the FIA ahead of this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix that he would not be allowed to use a special helmet livery dedicated to his home event.

The Toro Rosso charger had a specific blue, red and white design created for Sochi, but when he sent the livery to FIA race director Michael Masi, Kvyat was told that his use of a different helmet design at Monza earlier this month precluded him from changing his lid’s motif again.

Several years ago, following complaints from fans who insisted that drivers incessantly changing designs made them hard to recognize, F1’s governing body imposed a rule whereby each driver is allowed a single design change over the course of season.

Article 9.1 of F1’s Sporting Regulations states the following:

“In order for drivers to be easily distinguished from one another whilst they are on the track, the crash helmet of each driver must, with the exception of one Event of the driver’s choice, be presented in substantially the same livery at every Event during a Championship season.

“A change to helmet livery will also be permitted if a driver changes team during a Championship season.”

©ToroRosso

Needless to say, Kvyat – who says he wasn’t aware of the specific rule – was unimpressed with the FIA’s call, labeling the sporting article “a joke”.

“It’s a good helmet. Hope you saw it. I don’t know… I put it there in the garage, just to show it to everyone,” Kvyat said.

“It is a joke – but anyway, the rule is a rule.

“We just worked with my designer [Jens Munser], [on] something unusual. Russian flag theme, I guess. Just something a bit different, but simple at the same time, so yeah. Very happy with design.

“Maybe I will use it tomorrow. Let’s see. I still don’t know what could be the consequences. But to be honest, there are bigger problems [for F1] to focus [on] than a helmet design of a driver, I guess.”

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FIA driver press conference – Russia

Fan favourite Kimi Raikkonen joined local lad Daniil Kvyat as well as Kevin Magnussen, Lance Stroll and Valtteri Bottas for Thursday’s driver press conference at Sochi.

PRESS CONFERENCE

Q: Dany, if we could start with you please. Home race, tell us about the build up, how busy have you been?

Daniil KVYAT: Well, yeah, not too busy. It’s a back-to-back race with Singapore so pretty much arrived to Moscow for one day, got a little break, and then here on Wednesday. Had a bit of an event yesterday evening, you know, the usual stuff at the home grand prix and yeah, today just a bit busier than usual, but it’s always a pleasure for your home grand prix, so it’s OK.

Q: Tell us about the reception you got from the fans when you arrived here in Sochi?

DK: Well, I haven’t seen too many fans yet, but we’ll see tonight during the autograph session. Yes, I was doing the track walk and a few people definitely were quite excited. I think people love Formula 1 here and it’s quite good to see for me. I hope to see a lot of people in the grandstands on Sunday and Saturday, it would mean a lot to me. It would mean also that motor sport in Russia is growing a lot and obviously I’m happy to contribute.

Q: Now, you said after the Singapore Grand Prix that you struggled with the car. What were the issues and how confident are you that you can bounce back here this weekend?

DK: It was a specific grand prix. I mean I wouldn’t really say I struggled with the car. I skipped FP3, and then in quali, going straight into Q1, I just maybe didn’t put the best lap in because I didn’t have much reference and once you start from there it’s harder on a street circuit. And then the race, yeah, it was a bit messy. Some moves… I was getting a bit stuck behind people when I had fresher tyres. This year it was usually good for me and then in Singapore maybe it wasn’t so good. My mirrors were foggy, so I couldn’t really fight with people properly. The race was just difficult to be honest. We had contact with Kimi, but by that point my race already wasn’t looking very good. But I was still in contention for maybe a point, but yeah, it was a difficult race. Sometimes they happen and sometimes they are necessary.

Q: Thanks and good luck this weekend. Lance, a big update package for Racing Point in Singapore, how effective was it?

Lance STROLL: Yeah, it’s still early days. I think on paper they looked quite positive, we were quite competitive throughout the weekend. Qualifying was a struggle on my part, with gaps and stuff in Q1. So we had a bad qualifying on Saturday but then in the race the pace looked better. Yeah, it was just a messy weekend overall for both cars. Sergio had a technical issue in the race and we had to stop him. I was looking good up until I clipped the wall in my second stint and I got a puncture. It was a messy weekend but I think there’s still a lot to come. The early signs are good with the upgrade, things are looking good, but it’s about unlocking it to its full potential.

Q: You say the early signs are good, but where is the car better with this upgrade?

LS: It’s just general grip. Rear grip is much better, stability is better, and now it’s just about getting the right balance with this new upgrade and that sometimes takes a weekend and Singapore is a unique circuit, it’s one of a kind, so I’m looking forward to this weekend and the coming events.

Q: Now, you’ve been involved in some great on-track battles this year. Tremendous last lap in Singapore with Grosjean, Sainz and Ricciardo. How much are you enjoying those battles?

LS: Yeah, it’s always fun. Unfortunately at that stage in the race we weren’t in a position to score points. It’s always fun though. Wheel-to-wheel racing is always good and this year in the midfield it’s so tight. We’ve seen a lot of good fights and close racing in the midfield, so I’m sure it’s very exciting for the fans. But unfortunately our race was kind of done at that stage. It was really done after I clipped the wall and I got that puncture. It was exciting and I’m sure it was fun to watch from the outside.

Q: Kevin, you have a great record here – qualified fifth last year and a lot of points finishes at this race track. Can you tell us about the track: what is it like to drive and what do you need from your car to be quick?

Kevin MAGNUSSEN: I would say it’s a little bit kind of a specific track – lots of medium-speed corners, like 90 degrees. You need a good strong front end here, but as always you need good traction as well, so it’s not that you need much of a different car to usual but it’s, I think, a pretty good track. It’s decent to drive and it offers good opportunities for racing and overtaking. I quite like it.

Q: On the subject of car performance: are you starting to make progress now and do you understand the car now?

KM: I think it’s a pretty ongoing process. It’s much more important to understand what’s gone wrong with this car than to try to come up with quick fixes. It’s not lost this year at all, but it’s better to focus for next year and try to get as ready as we can and have as much confidence in correlations and stuff like that to produce a better product for next year, rather than, in a desperate way, to try to fix this year’s car, because that’s going to be a little bit difficult. So the focus is more on different experiments with different packages to try to learn more about correlations and sensitivities and stuff like that. It’s a little but frustrating because obviously we’d all prefer to just be maximum flat out, trying to perform the best we can, which of course we are, but at the same time we are spending a lot of energy on experiments.

Q: You mention the word package there. What package are you going to be driving this weekend?

KM: The new one. That’s still part of this whole learning process, so I think Romain will stay on the old-ish one, with a few of the new parts. We’ve gone to a bit of a hybrid car to try to make it possible to swap over and swap between different parts and experiment as much as possible and get as much learning as we can. That part is going well and we are making progress in terms of understanding but we don’t see that understanding in terms of lap time. It’s hard to show in terms of lap time what progress we are making.

Q: Kimi, frustrating race for you in Singapore, different kind of street track here, with longer straights. How confident are you of having a better weekend?

Kimi RÄIKKÖNEN: Never know really but I think it should be better for us – hopefully it is. I think Singapore, some points, it felt pretty OK, mainly not, but I think maybe our car is not the best over the bumps and things that you need for Singapore but yeah, let’s see how it comes – but I would expect to be a bit better here.

…better because of the smooth track surface or better because of the Ferrari power unit? Why do you think it will be better?

KR: Just track layout and how the surface is and everything. I might be wrong but hopefully not. Hopefully we have a bit more smoother weekend, a bit more speed.

Q: Now Kimi, this is a bit of a landmark race for you. It’s race number 307, which takes you to third overall in the most-experienced list. You’re surpassing Schumacher and Jenson Button this weekend. When you started out in 2001, did you ever imagine you’d be around for this long?

KR: Definitely not. I think I was wishing to stop much earlier. I kind of stopped it already but no, for sure not. I don’t think I had any ideas how long. Hopefully at least one or two years. Things have turned out a bit different – but I didn’t really have a plan before, I still don’t. We’ll try to go good things and as long as we enjoy it, obviously we’ll keep racing and see what happens.

Q: Given the competitive nature of this sport, do you take a lot of pride in your longevity?

KR: Not really. I mean, to me, as long as I feel myself that I can drive where I expect to be, and I can do things as I, in my head, I feel I should, then I’m happy to keep going, plus, as long as the racing is the bigger part than all the other nonsense. I don’t really think ‘Oh, I’ve done this much racing, and it’s a great thing’. For me, the results are much more important than another other fact. Maybe the day you stop, and after a while when you look backwards, it means something. But right now, no.

Q: Valtteri, you have a great record here. First win, 2017, pole last year, looking good for the win until that didn’t happen. Why are you so quick here – and how much confidence does your record give you coming into the weekend.

Valtteri BOTTAS: For sure it gives confidence to come into a weekend when you know previously it’s been one of the good tracks for you, so that’s obviously a nicer way to start the weekend but always, in every case, you start from zero. Every season, every track changes a little bit, every car is always different every year, so setup, everything is different, so you’re starting from zero – but for sure, we have a good mindset coming here, knowing that it’s been good in the past. I don’t know, just since the first year coming here I’ve found a good flow on the track and haven’t really had many problematic corners or anything, so been on the pace. Obviously, there’s always things I can do better this year than last year and that will be the aim.

Q: You say you’re coming here with a good mindset but there must have been – tell me if I’m wrong – frustrations after being told by the team, to effectively hold station in Singapore last weekend in the race. What’s been said since then?

VB: Well, first of all, that was last weekend. I’m not thinking about that any more coming to this weekend. But if you want to talk about it I can’t go into details. Obviously we always review everything by the finest detail with the team, and I was at the factory on Tuesday. We had meetings about that and that we’ll keep just for us. Whatever we’ve spoken about it. We have certain rules, both ways, they’re equal. That’s how it goes but I just need to make sure I’m not going to be in that kind of situation again.

QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR

Q: (Frederic Ferret – L’Equipe) Daniil, you have, since Spa, a new team-mate. You live the same thing that he lived, being demoted from Red Bull to Toro Rosso. How long did it take for you to get back to competitiveness and how did you work on that special thing?

DK: I think it’s hard to compare – you know everyone has their own life situations and their own approach to the things, so for me it’s very hard to compare. For me, I’ve turned the page already. I have been through it, I have no problems with that any more. So, I even managed to go out and come back again to Red Bull, so I have no issues regarding that and from my side, I have full focus now on this year and on the future. So for me now it’s a closed chapter.

Q: (Beatrice Zamuner – motorlat.com) Valtteri, now that Max and Charles are getting closer to you, they are now 31 points behind you, to what extent do you see them as threats for second place?

VB: For sure, Ferrari has been improving a lot and Red Bull is very close every weekend now, depending on track layout. So, it’s still a big chunk of points to be had for the rest of the year, so for sure I need to keep performing and we need to perform as a team to get those bigger points. I’m still aiming and focussing really ahead. Focussing on short team goals: the next one is this weekend, try to win the race. Then, at the end of the year, we’ll see if there’s still a threat or what’s happening. I’m not really thinking about that too much. I’m thinking about my performance and our performance as a team.

Q: (Dzhastina Golopolosova – The Paddock Magazine) Next year the racing calendar is expanding and by 2021 they are predicting more races. What do you think of this trend and will this increase the value of the sport?

KM: I think it’s a difficult question for me. Obviously the biggest problem is probably the team, the mechanics; all those guys are working very hard already, so it would be pretty tough for a lot of people in the team and I don’t know if it’s going to make it, each race, less valuable in terms of viewers and all that sort of stuff. Probably you can see why it would but it’s not an area I’m an expert in so I don’t really know.

VB: I think if it’s just one more next year it’s not too bad. Obviously it is, like Kevin said, hard work for many of the team members, doing so much work between the races as well. There’s going to be a limit, for sure, at some point but I don’t know in detail after how many races that would come but I think we can still do one more but we will see. It’s OK so far.

DK: Yeah, I don’t have much to say. I agree with these guys, it’s true. It wasn’t bad when it was 18 races but let’s see how it goes when the championship goes to more races. For sure we will apparently have to find the limit by touching it.

KR: No comments.

Q: Do you welcome more races yourself? We understand the pressures on the team but from a driving point of view do you welcome more?

KR: I don’t know. It depends really where we go. If we raced in Europe I wouldn’t mind but it’s obviously much easier for everybody. It’s nice to race on new tracks, hoping that they’re good ones for racing but we will see. Usually it’s a habit to keep changing races and some come and some go. We never know until we get there.

LS: Yeah, more than 22 races is probably a lot, it’s a lot for the whole team but from what I understand it’s balanced out with some testing days. It’s nicer to be racing than testing.

Q: (Vladimir Zayvyy – RussianRt.com) Daniil, according to the Daily Mail, Russian president Vladimir Putin backs a plan for the F1 race to move from Sochi to St Petersburg. What do you think about this?

DK: Yeah, I think as long as there is a racing in Russia I am up for it. Maybe it’s not a bad idea to have it closer to that region, also, where it’s more accessible to the people from Moscow, from St Petersburg, maybe it will bring more spectators which is cool, and maybe also from Europe, from Finland, let’s say, it’s a very popular sport there, it will be cool. Why not? It’s not a bad idea. Here is very nice but who knows if there it could be even better? Why not?

Q: Fans coming from Finland, perhaps a comment from one of you guys, Valtteri?

VB: Yeah, for sure, maybe we could have some more. Obviously a Finnish Grand Prix would be nice as well but maybe more Finns would be there, possibly.

Q: Kimi, what about a race in St Petersburg from your point of view?

KR: We go where the race is. I would guess that there’s Finns, I guess there’s Finns watching here, I’m sure. It’s a lot easier, for sure.

Q: (Daria Panova – Motorlat) At the Singapore Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel said that reverse grids is not a good idea for Formula One. So what do you guys think about it?

LS: I think it would be a shame to see the current format disappear. It’s very exciting, the fans love it, especially today’s Formula One. A short, 25-lap race would be really boring to watch in my opinion. Today’s Formula One races depend on strategy which a 25 lap race wouldn’t really offer so I think it would just be a train from start to finish and that would take away some of the excitement from the sport.

KR: I think it depends on how they would do it, obviously, but probably qualifying can be more exciting than a short race. Who knows?

Q: Do you like the current qualifying format?

KR: Yeah. But if I would change, I would go back to where it was when I started: one hour of time and I think there were three sets of tyres and 12 laps, do it when you want those. Over the years, there have been many different ways of doing it. Honestly I don’t know if it really changed the entries an awful lot so…

DK: Yeah, it sounds just like a short fix to a bigger problem, which is just that we need to try and bring all the teams closer competition-wise. There’s still a big gap between the top three teams and the rest of the field and if we could have five or six teams competing for podium and a win I think it would be just a lot more exciting racing as well. Now, this year, there have been many exciting races of course but I still think that’s the main issue and if it’s a short term fix, these races, then so be it, we will have to do it of course but I think the bigger picture needs to be sorted, more than that.

VB: Not a big fan, myself, personally, about the reverse grid idea. I think it would be a real shame to lose proper qualifying. I think all the drivers really enjoy pushing the car to the limit for that one lap in qualifying. I find it really enjoyable so it would be a shame.

KM: Yeah, I agree. As Dany said, we need to try and fix the problem organically by making the competition closer and I also think qualifying is a fantastic event, so I think it’s a bad idea.

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Kvyat claims Raikkonen ‘just suicided himself’

Daniil Kvyat reckons Kimi Raikkonen “just suicided himself” in the Singapore Grand Prix after two collided at the Marina Bay circuit.

In the closing stages of a hard, gruelling race, Kvyat tried to get past Raikkonen for P12 but the duo tangled up at the first corner.

The collision left Raikkonen with a broken suspension and subsequent DNF, while Kvyat was able to finish the race in P15.

While it appeared to be a case of ‘The Torpedo’ striking again for some, Kvyat believes Raikkonen can only have himself to blame.

“I was surprised because I made a move, I made it clear,” Kvyat said via Motorsport.com after the race.

“He moved under braking, a thing we discuss a lot, and he was the one against it, actually. I’m surprised he did it.

“If you defend then you defend. If you leave the door open, leave the door open. He just… suicided himself. He tried to kill me as well.”

Kvyat also cited poor tyre wear and a foggy visor also combining to make it a very difficult race for the Russian as he now prepares for his home race next weekend.

“I didn’t understand the problems in the first stint, but my tyres went away quicker than others. I don’t know why,” Kvyat added.

“The second stint actually was the opposite, they lasted very well. And I was on the gearbox of others, and then we pitted for options.

“I had a chance to score points, but messy restarts a bit from my side, a bit partially because I couldn’t see much in my mirrors, which was an obstacle to seeing anything behind you, and yeah, then in the incident with Kimi I damaged the car, so it was a difficult afternoon.”

The stewards investigated Kvyat’s collision with Raikkonen but deemed no further action was necessary.

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