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.