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Exclusive Daniil Kvyat Q&A: Fifth at home 'extraordinary'

11 Oct 2014

It’s been a whirlwind week for Toro Rosso’s Russian rookie Daniil Kvyat. Last Saturday in Japan he was confirmed as Sebastian Vettel’s replacement at Red Bull for 2015 and today he achieved a career-best fifth on the grid for his inaugural home Grand Prix. Could things get any better? We caught up with Kvyat in Sochi to find out…

Q: Daniil, as it stands, it seems very likely that in the future you could write motorsport history by becoming the first Russian to win a Grand Prix. What does that mean to you?

Daniil Kvyat: Ha, there is very likely still some road to travel! Of course qualifying went super today - and that is always the first important step for a good race result. Of course we will do our best tomorrow to finish as high as possible, but winning - that is not really on my radar right now. Unfortunately. (laughs)

Q: It might not happen tomorrow, but with your switch to Red Bull next season you are primed to write Russian motor racing history...

DK: Of course when I was told that I will move to Red Bull next season I was extremely happy because it is a team with a great history of winning. By joining them it means that I will move very close to the podium - and hence, as no Russian has ever won an F1 race, I might be that one! It is a fantastic chance that opens a huge range of possibilities in front of me, and Red Bull knows that when they give me possibilities I use them.

Q: How did you learn about your promotion? Who was the bearer of good tidings?

DK: I have to be very honest, (Toro Rosso team principal) Franz Tost. Then I walked to Red Bull to get an official confirmation that it is really real and I haven't been dreaming. (laughs) That confirmation I got from (Red Bull motorsport consultant) Helmut Marko and (Red Bull Racing team principal) Christian Horner. In the first moment it indeed was hard to believe. Now it gives me such a warm cosy feeling, to get such a chance.

Q: In Austin last year we were talking about your first running - and now, not even one year down the road, the second Red Bull seat is yours...

DK: It is true: you have to be in the right place at the right time. But you also always create your own luck, your own possibilities - and I always did that, for my whole career.

Q: You have done very well this season, even if it doesn't really reflect in the points. People believe that you are an up-and-coming man...

DK: ...and that is what counts. I was not looking at the points situation - and you can see that by signing me, Red Bull also didn't care so much about it. And that is why I am thankful to them, as they see beyond simply the results.

Q: Franz Tost is one of the best team principals for developing rookies. What did you learn from him that was enlightening?

DK: And I can confirm that he is an excellent rookie nurturer! He knows how to prepare rookies. I had amazing support - it was a fantastic schooling. I cannot thank Toro Rosso enough for what they've done for me.

Q: He is also known to be forthright with his opinions, which can sometimes be shocking for delicate young drivers...

DK: He will definitely point it out when you do stupid things - but he will also point out when you do the right things.

Q: You got it very right in qualifying today. Could you have been even higher - did you make a small mistake?

DK: I was pretty close to flat out - and there was not a real mistake. You can't really put in a perfect lap - this simply doesn't exist - so I am pretty happy with how it went this afternoon.

Q: Why were Toro Rosso so quick today compared to Red Bull? Did the track layout or the special tarmac 'give you wings'?

DK: True, it is a bit of a particular track. As it is so new it needs time to grip-up - and this probably played to our advantage.

Q: You will have to fill big shoes when you move to Red Bull. What's on your schedule for the next few weeks and months in order to grow into them?

DK: Ha! My feet are growing every day! (laughs) No real changes to what I did so far - always pushing very hard - and that will last over the whole winter. I am still very young and my body will react to any training I do - and I will do my absolute best.

Q: Does your ego - or should that be confidence - help you?

DK: Ego is hard to judge, but I do have a healthy self-confidence. Hopefully.

Q: How much will the first Grand Prix in Russia boost you this weekend - and how much enthusiasm do you get from your home fans?

DK: When I saw my good result from qualifying today, and knowing that it is in my home country, it was very extraordinary. And having so many fans, that is very welcome. I want to reward them with the best result possible.

Q: Looking at how your career has taken off, how do you cope with being such a lucky devil?

DK: I am, aren't I?