Daniil Kvyat was pleased to end a tough home grand prix weekend in Russia on a positive note by finishing fifth for Red Bull on Sunday.
Kvyat has become the poster boy of the race in Sochi, being just the second Russian driver to race in Formula 1 following Vitaly Petrov’s brief stint in the sport with Renault and Caterham.
The Red Bull driver had hoped to make up for a disappointing first home outing in 2014 this year, but looked resigned to another difficult race after qualifying down in 11th place.
However, a long first stint and a flurry of late retirements allowed Kvyat to make his way up the order, eventually crossing the line in fifth place to pick up ten points for Red Bull on Sunday.
“I think we squeezed everything out of it today and ten points at the end of such a complicated race is a very good achievement, so we have to be satisfied with these points,” Kvyat said.
“With hindsight, you could say we could have run a slightly better strategy, but you can never be completely sure how these things will turn out and you never stop learning in this respect.
“It was nice to see all the people that came here to support me today, it’s a great feeling and hopefully it will continue and get better and better.
“I could also see that other drivers had their fans in the crowd as well which was nice, it’s a true passion and it looks like in Russia the sport is growing a lot and many people are coming which is great to see.
“I’m already looking forward to Austin because I think it should suit us a little bit better and I’m looking forward to those high speed corners.”
In the sister Red Bull car, Daniel Ricciardo had been poised to finish in the top five before a problem on his car forced him to retire from the race with a few laps remaining.
“I’m happy with how I drove but it’s a shame we don’t have any points to show for it,” Ricciardo said. “The risky strategy was working well and we were looking good to earn some decent points.
“We’re not sure what happened, we suspect it’s a suspension issue. I came out of turn four and I felt something was not right and I reported back to the team.
“The team will investigate the issue but I think considering we weren’t expecting too much from this track, we can be pleased that we were racing with the faster cars of Williams and Ferrari and managed to keep them behind us for a good while.”