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Daniil Kvyat Q&A: Midfield fight almost too close to call

01 Apr 2016

Australia might have yielded nothing but disappointment for Daniil Kvyat, but he insists there were still positives to emerge - particularly from the pace of his team mate Daniel Ricciardo. Hopes are high for Bahrain then - but with the midfield so close, the only thing Kvyat is betting on is having a fight on his hands...

Q: Daniil, another race weekend and another chance! How are you feeling after such a bitter opening to the season in Australia?

Daniil Kvyat: Yes, it was a strange weekend as my engineer and I didn't really understand what was happening – but I have already left it behind big time! Weekends like that happen sometimes – but as I said, no nightmare and so far Bahrain looks pretty promising for me.

Q: Your team mate Daniel said that there is a clear upward trend with the power unit – and provided some evidence by setting the fastest lap in Melbourne. Do you agree with his notion?

DK: Yes, it is moving upward. Of course strategy played a big part in Daniel clocking the fastest lap - but what he was able to do throughout the whole race, coming fourth, was pretty promising. One fastest lap doesn't get you anywhere – it's the result that makes you happy at the end of the day! (laughs) I am ready to test it out for myself here. I want to have a good clear race on Sunday starting from as far in front as possible.  

Q: Helmut Marko said that he expects nothing less than at least P3 in the constructors' standings for Red Bull this year. It is still early days – but does the car have it?

DK: I still have to do my first race of the season. Actually my season starts here and of course my main target is to score as many points as possible - just as I did last season. From what I've seen in Melbourne we are only two points shy of Williams – with only one car running. I think that says a lot!

Q: It will be a crucial year for you in terms of securing your future for 2017 and beyond. Does that sort of dynamic ever play on your mind during weekends like the one you suffered in Melbourne?

DK: No, it was not on my mind, as the team knows that the Melbourne issues had nothing to do with me. My reference right now isn't Melbourne but the second half of last season, when I was doing a consistently good job.

Q: Usually you are very relaxed and self-confident, but do you feel the Toro Rosso youngsters breathing down your neck? After all your former team principal Franz Tost said the normal procedure for Max Verstappen or Carlos Sainz would be to move to Red Bull Racing for the 2017 season...

DK: To be honest I don't see that there is anything to worry about. I think there is a lot more to consider in terms of who to put into a cockpit than just the last result. And Max was also not shining in Melbourne. So the best advice I give myself is: boy, focus on your own business! If I do a good job then everything will fall into place.

Q: What can you say about your car this year? Is the chassis a 'typical' Newey production?

DK: Yes, the car is super – a typical Red Bull Racing chassis - and my guess is that we also will see even better engine performance here than in Melbourne.

Q: You are now in your second season with Red Bull Racing. It hasn't always been straightforward – 2015 for example brought a lot of uncertainties. Is being an F1 driver still your dream job?

DK: Absolutely. When I think of racing I think of F1 – nothing else! I don't allow any other thoughts. (laughs) I am in the best place I can imagine, period. Now I want to see results! I am a hard worker so obviously 2015 was disappointing in the sense that there was not the reward that you would expect from that hard work – and that goes for the whole team. Even so there were still some enjoyable moments last year – every time when the result was satisfying.

Q: Melbourne is a track that either works or doesn't at all – and obviously it didn't work for you. But what about Bahrain? 

DK: Hah! As I start my season here it was very promising today. No real issues with the car, and no dramas. True we are 1.7 seconds off the fastest time, but it is Friday – so I would not bet anything on the validity of most of the times. Mercedes are in a league of their own anyway, but  behind them it will be tight. I'll bet on that!