Red Bull Racing’s Daniil Kvyat put himself in the headlines and in the crosshairs for the second consecutive Grand Prix, although this time, his aggression appeared to get the better of him on home soil in Sochi, Russia.
Kvyat barged into Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel at Turn 2, which left Vettel driving wounded for the next corner, but the German didn’t even make it much further because Kvyat hit him again at Turn 3.
The second blow took Vettel out of the race, his second first lap retirement in four races.
Kvyat was later assessed a 10-second stop-and-go penalty for causing a collision. He ended his race in 15th after the messy day at the office.
While Kvyat could have been excused for going for it in Turn 1 at China two weeks ago, ultimately getting past Vettel inside to Vettel’s chagrin post-race, most agreed he was at fault on Sunday in Sochi for this incident.
Kvyat, meanwhile, was defiant when speaking to NBCSN’s Will Buxton post-race.
“Obviously in future days we’ll see a lot of clever comments from everyone,” the 22-year-old Russian told Buxton.
“My point of view, I locked my rear wheels. Simple as that. I didn’t brake too late. Ran into his back. Felt like someone pushed me from behind. Car was a bit of out of control.
“The main problem came in Turn 3, not Turn 2, when I think Sebastian had a problem with his car. He stopped very suddenly and I was just two meters behind him, and at that speed there was not much I can do to avoid. I apologize for ruining his race. But I’m human. His sudden deceleration was too much for me at that point at Turn 3.”
Vettel exploded on the radio in the immediate aftermath of the collision but was far more restrained and diplomatic when speaking to Buxton after he got taken out.
“Today it’s fairly obvious, he did a mistake again, obviously, it doesn’t help me now because I’m not in the car,” Vettel said.
“In the end we’re here to race. Massively pumped up. Had a super start, made progress into the second corner and got hit, then a second hit, which destroyed our race.”
Kvyat, meanwhile, continued with his point that he thought Vettel’s sudden slowing was more to blame for the Turn 3 contact.
“Exactly, yeah. Turn 3 is very fast. It wasn’t deliberate. Maybe after the first light contact in Turn 2, maybe there was problem with the car. To be sure he dropped his speed rate suddenly. I still expected to keep him. He was flat out util then.
“The stewards thought I crashed into him deliberately. The penalty was very harsh… but probably fair enough. It cost us points. These things happen and I usually learn from them.”
While Vettel was the main driver taken out in the opening turns, he wasn’t the only one who had his race compromised. Nico Hulkenberg and Rio Haryanto also retired in the melee.
And worse for Kvyat, his Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo also got caught up in the scrap. Ricciardo, the usually ebullient Australian, expressed his Kvyat frustration to Buxton post-race.
“It was a first lap incident that shaped the race for us,” said Ricciardo, who finished outside the points in 11th, his first non-score (and non-fourth place) this year.
“From then we tried putting the medium (tires) on it but it didn’t work. Too much damage. I saw the right hand side of the car and there was a lot going on. First lap, and people getting a bit impatient I guess.”
Asked whether he felt Kvyat owed him an apology Ricciardo replied, “Yeah. I expect an apology. He owes it to a few people today.
“I saw a bit of a replay during the safety car. Tried to look at the screens. I have a feeling that’s what happened. I’ll watch again, but it seems, that had us over.
“We’ll see. It’s up to him.”
Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner also appeared less than pleased with Kvyat, judging from quotes via Mobil 1 The Grid, and linked below:
When Kvyat was told Ricciardo wanted an apology from him, he replied thusly:
“Probably the whole paddock wants an apology from me, but we’ll speak inside the team after analyzing.
“It’s easy to attack now. Go on, attack me, no problem.”