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F1 2016 Driver Review: Daniil Kvyat

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Daniil Kvyat

Team: Scuderia Toro Rosso/Red Bull Racing
Car No.: 26
Races: 21
Podiums: 1
Best Finish: 3rd (China)
Fastest Laps: 1
Points: 25
Laps Led: 0
Championship Position: 14th

Luke Smith (@LukeSmithF1)

2016 is a year that will remain long in the memory of Daniil Kvyat, mainly for all the wrong reasons.

It seemed somewhat inevitable that he would one day be replaced by Max Verstappen, such is the Dutchman’s talent, but few saw it coming as quickly as it did. After playing a starring role in the Chinese Grand Prix and finishing second, a nightmare weekend on home soil in Russia was the excuse Red Bull needed to promote Verstappen and send Kvyat back to Toro Rosso.

From then on, Kvyat’s 2016 was all about survival. The move clearly had a deep psychological impact on the youngster, leaving him looking somewhat lost entering the summer break. The time off did him a world of good as he reset and refreshed, allowing him to impress late in the year. A particular highlight was Singapore, where he qualified and finished inside the top 10, as well as enjoying an on-track battle with Verstappen.

If Kvyat can continue his late-season progression through 2017, then he should be able to prove he is still one of F1’s brightest young prospects. Alas, with Pierre Gasly waiting to step up to F1 under the Red Bull umbrella, Kvyat will know that his future may lie outside of its setup.

Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno)

It was hard not to feel for Daniil Kvyat this season, because in one year he was the embodiment of how quickly you can go from being one of the hottest young prospects to discarded as quickly as yesterday’s lunch. 

Kvyat’s first-lap shenanigans in Shanghai and Sochi produced different results. The Shanghai fightback at least resulted in a podium while Sochi, his home race, produced enough of a gap for Red Bull to pull the trigger on the driver swap between him and Max Verstappen. That, inevitably, sapped his confidence for the rest of the year. 

But Kvyat did produce enough fight back as the year progressed. A particularly good run at Singapore stood out. It was just always going to be difficult to score points given the power deficiency at Toro Rosso this year, and Sainz’s otherworldly year made Kvyat’s look all the more ordinary. With one more year ahead in 2017, Kvyat at least has a shot to surprise once again.

Red Bull Air Race: Yoshi Muroya joins Sato as Japanese champs at Indy

Photo: Joerg Mitter/Red Bull Content Pool
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Takuma Sato isn’t the only major Japanese athlete to take home top honors at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this year. Countryman Yoshihide Muroya joined him in that on Sunday after winning Red Bull Air Race at IMS, and the Red Bull Air Race World Championship in the process.

Fittingly, the 101st Indianapolis 500 champion was there on site to join him in the celebration.

Muroya flew with a track-record run in the final and erased the four-point deficit to points leader Martin Sonka. The record run came after a disappointing qualifying effort of 11th in the 14-pilot field in the Master Class.

A day after the win, Muroya joined Sato in heading to Sato’s new Verizon IndyCar Series team, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s, Indianapolis-based shop.

A few social posts from Muroya’s victory and the subsequent celebration are below.

CHECKING OUT EACH OTHER’S RIDES

ASTLES BREAKS THOUGH AS WELL

Muroya wasn’t alone among big winners at the Speedway. In the Challenger Class, Melanie Astles of France became the first woman to win a major race at IMS, and is the first female winner in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship.

Nine women have competed in the Indianapolis 500 (Janet Guthrie, Lyn St. James, Sarah Fisher, Danica Patrick, Milka Duno, Simona de Silvestro, Pippa Mann, Ana Beatriz, Katherine Legge) and Mann is the first woman to have been on the pole position at IMS, having done so for the Freedom 100 in 2010 in Indy Lights.

Photo: Joerg Mitter/Red Bull Content Pool