ANYONE who thinks Daniil Kvyat isn’t still bitter about his demotion from Red Bull should think again.
The 22-year-old got the tap on the shoulder after the Russian Grand Prix in Sochi and was replaced by 18-year-old sensation Max Verstappen, while he was forced to join Red Bull’s sister team Toro Rosso.
His reckless driving in his home country saw him crash into Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, who in turn rammed Kvyat’s teammate Daniel Ricciardo — ruining the race for both of them. Vettel failed to finish and Ricciardo came 11th.
That was the final straw for the Red Bull hierarchy, who pulled the trigger on a driver swap that many experts predicted had been in the works for some time.
But Kvyat isn’t willing to cop his demotion quietly. He was shocked by the move, and said back-room politics had more to do with the decision than just his performance on the track.
“Formula one is not only what you do on the track,” Kvyat was quoted as saying by autosport.com.
“There is a lot going on behind the track but I do not want to discuss this in an interview now. I keep it for myself.”
He then took a veiled swipe at his former team before saying how happy he was at Toro Rosso.
“I learned a bit more and I have a very long memory. I will remember this decision from them,” Kvyat said.
“Now I am with Toro Rosso, the team that I like a lot and it seems like a mutual feeling.
“It seems we have a big potential and all in all, it can be a very good step for my career.”
Saying he has a “long memory” and that he will “remember this decision” doesn’t bode well for
any future plans he has of re-joining Ricciardo in the big leagues. Instead it comes across as if he is planning some sort of revenge, the best type of which would be to win some races with his new team.
Kvyat said talk about his position had followed him ever since he joined Red Bull.
“Somehow, you always know there is something in the air,” he said.
“Since I joined Red Bull, it was a bit of a trend, it was the talk.
“In Sochi, I had no idea. It was a shock. It was just a confusing decision at the time.”
He’s earnt the ire of fellow drivers more than once this F1 season. Ricciardo demanded an apology from him after the Sochi debacle, and he was already in Vettel’s bad books following the Chinese Grand Prix, when the German blamed him for causing a crash between himself and teammate Kimi Raikkonen.
“Kvyat’s attack was suicidal, there was no way he could have made the corner with that speed,” Vettel said on the team radio.
“There was always going to be a crash.
“At the start, why the hell did you go to the left? You crashed into us. You came like a torpedo,” Vettel told the Russian after the race.
Kvyat will line up again at next week’s grand prix in Monaco.