‘Best lap of the year’ takes Kvyat to P6 and best grid slot in 33 races
Daniil Kvyat will start Sunday's Sakhir Grand Prix from sixth place – his highest starting position in 33 races, as the Russian says his Q3 run was "his best qualifying lap of the year".
The AlphaTauri racer outqualified his team mate Pierre Gasly – who will start ninth – under the lights to match the grid spot he last took at the 2019 Azerbajian Grand Prix in Baku.
"It was tidy, one of the best, probably the best lap of this year for me in quali, so I’m happy with that," he said afterwards.
"[It was] tricky in the beginning with traffic. It’s tricky to get the lap right, so only in Q3 I felt like I put it together the first time. It was a very good result so I’m happy with my driving and with the car. Hopefully tomorrow we can keep it up."
This is the second week in succession that F1 has raced in Bahrain, though this weekend the drivers are tackling the Outer Loop layout, as opposed to the usual Grand Prix circuit. And Kvyat said he was feeling good in the car last weekend at this track, only to fail to extract the maximum when it counted, as he qualified 10th.
"Last week I was very happy in qualifying here, I just didn’t put the lap together in Q3 last week," he said. "Today I put the lap together in the right moment and it mattered."
This is Kvyat's third Q3 appearance in the last four races, and comes rather coincidentally as his seat on the grid for next year looks increasingly under threat, with the ex-Red Bull driver having failed to make Q3 at all in the opening 12 Grands Prix of the year.
"The pace was always there for the last few races," he said, "only with a few exceptions, otherwise I’m happy with how things are going. We just need to do a good race tomorrow, keep it clean like today and the result will be good."
Kvyat has made the points on six occasions this year, with a best finish of P4 at Mugello.