Daniil Kvyat came in for some stick in China after his first-lap contact with the two McLarens, while the Russian ended his first day of running in Azerbaijan minus a front-left corner on his Toro Rosso after clouting the wall in Free Practice 2. But after his team had showed strong pace around the streets of Baku, it was Kvyat who converted it in qualifying to wind up a fighting P6 on the grid.
Both Kvyat and team mate Alexander Albon survived wall-smacking incidents in the Q2 segment of qualifying. But while Albon appeared to struggle to get his tyre temperatures in the right window and could only finish in 12th on the road, Kvyat became the first Toro Rosso driver of the year to progress to Q3, ending up sixth and just 0.088s shy of fifth-place man Sergio Perez’s best effort in the Racing Point.
“It was a good qualifying,” said Kvyat. “I had a great lap in Q3 – it gives you great satisfaction to put in a good lap, especially at a track like this as it’s a circuit for brave drivers.
“I brushed the wall on one of my laps, but you need to have big balls around this track to get the best time. Tomorrow’s a long race and we’ll try and put everything together – I think we have a chance for a strong result. The race can be very unpredictable, so I’ll keep a cool head and do the best job I can.”