F1 2017 driver review: Daniil Kvyat

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Daniil Kvyat

Team: Toro Rosso
Car No.: 26
Races: 15
Wins: 0
Podiums: 0
Best Finish: P9 (Australia and Spain)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 5
Championship Position: 19th

Red Bull’s decision to keep Daniil Kvyat on at Formula 1 B-team Toro Rosso for 2017 seemed surprising when it was announced late last year, but it was widely recognized it would constitute a last chance for the Russian.

Following his demotion in 2016, Kvyat had struggled to gather his head and find his form. It was hoped the flashes of brilliance we had seen thus far in his F1 career could become more regular after a winter to collect himself and recover – but things did not go to plan.

Despite runs to ninth place in Australia and Spain in the early part of the season, Kvyat quickly slipped into another rut as he went some four months without points, leading to his dropping after an embarrassing crash in Singapore when a top-10 finish looked likely. It wasn’t even possible to blame his lack of form on the car, for teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. was proving to be a regular fixture in the top 10.

Kvyat was brought back for the United States Grand Prix after Pierre Gasly, his replacement, had to miss the race due to a Super Formula clash. Kvyat ironically put in his best performance of the year in Austin, driving a perfect race to P10, but with Brendon Hartley now in the picture, his days were numbered.

Kvyat’s dismissal from the Red Bull program will now give him the freedom to find his feet in motorsport again and embark on a new challenge. It’s likely that will be found outside of F1 next year.

He may have enjoyed his headline moments, such as in China 2016, but Kvyat ultimately has not been good enough. The standout stat is that under F1’s old points system, he would never have scored a point for Toro Rosso.

And that’s not the top-six scoring points, used up to 2003. That’s under the top eight scoring in the system that was used until 2010…

Season High: A perfect run to 10th in Austin, even if it was too little too late.

Season Low: An embarrassing crash in Singapore when easy points were on the table.

Miguel Oliveira wins MotoGP Thai Grand Prix, Bagnaia closes to two points in championship

MotoGP Thai Grand Prix
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Miguel Oliveira mastered mixed conditions on the Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand to win the MotoGP Thai Grand Prix. Oliveira showed the adaptability as he navigated a race that began in wet conditions and turned dry over the course of the race. Oliveira won the Indonesian GP in similar conditions.

“It was a long race, but I can’t complain,” Oliveira said on CNBC. “Every time we get to ride in the wet, I’m always super-fast. When it started raining, I had flashbacks of Indonesia. I tried to keep my feet on the ground, make a good start and not make mistakes and carry the bike to the end.”

All eyes were on the championship, however. Francesco Bagnaia got a great start to slot into second in Turn 1.

Meanwhile Fabio Quartararo had a disastrous first lap. He lost five positions in the first couple of turns and then rode over the rumble strips and fell back to 17th. At the end of the first lap, Bagnaia had the points’ lead by two. A win would have added to the gain and for a moment, it appeared Bagnaia might assume the lead.

Early leader Marco Bezzecchi was penalized for exceeding track limits, but before that happened, Jack Miller got around Bagnaia and pushed him back to third. Oliveira was not far behind.

After throwing away ninth-place and seven points on the last lap of the Japanese GP last week, Bagnaia did not allow the competition to press him into a mistake. He fell back as far as fourth before retaking the final position on the podium.

“It’s like a win for me, this podium,” Bagnaia. “My first podium in the wet and then there was a mix of conditions, so I’m very happy. I want to thank Jack Miller. Before the race, he gave me a motivational chat.”

Miller led the first half of the Thai Grand Prix before giving up the top spot to Oliveira and then held on to finish second. Coupled with his Japanese GP win, Miller is now fully in the MotoGP championship battle with a 40-point deficit, but he will need a string of results like Bagnaia has put together in recent weeks – and he needs Bagnaia to lose momentum.

Miller’s home Grand Prix in Australia is next up on the calendar in two weeks.

Bagnaia entered the race 18 points behind Quartararo after he failed to score any in Japan. The balance of power has rapidly shifted, however, with Quartararo now failing to earn points in two of the last three rounds. Bagnaia won four consecutive races and finished second in the five races leading up to Japan. His third-place finish in Thailand is now his sixth MotoGP podium in the last seven rounds.

Aleix Espargaro entered the race third in the standings with a 25-point deficit to Quartararo, but was able to close the gap by only five after getting hit with a long-lap penalty for aggressive riding when he pushed Darryn Binder off course during a pass for position. Espargaro finished 11th.

Rain mixed up the Moto2 running order in the MotoGP Thai Grand Prix as well. Starting on a wet track, Somkiat Chantra led the opening lap in his home Grand Prix. He could not hold onto it and crashed one circuit later, but still gave his countrymen a moment of pride by winning the pole.

Half points were awarded as the race went only eight laps before Tony Arbolino crossed under the checkers first with Filip Salac and Aron Canet rounding out the podium.

American Joe Roberts earned another top-10 in eighth with Sean Dylan Kelly finishing just outside the top 10 in 11th.