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I'm not here to make up the numbers - Daniil Kvyat Q&A

08 Jul 2016

It's been a tough year for Daniil Kvyat. Dropped mid-season by Red Bull Racing in favour of Max Verstappen and sent back to sister team Toro Rosso, the Russian's pride has taken a battering - as did his car last time out in Austria. Five races on from his ‘demotion', how is Kvyat coping, and what are his hopes for Silverstone this weekend? After his P13 finish in second practice, we caught up for an exclusive chat...

Q: Daniil, after a few weeks back ‘at home' now, has the smile returned to your face again? It seems so…

Daniil Kvyat: Ha, probably there are mixed emotions. Sometimes as a driver you have no other choice than to give in to reality. There is no point in being angry or sad, as it will not get me anywhere. So I get on with my job. It is as simple as that. It is not an easy situation still and it probably takes a bit more time to get the car up to performance than I've thought. But it is an interesting task and I really enjoy it. 

Q: Should you bemoan your fate? You are still one of only 22 F1 race drivers in the world…

DK: …but for me it is not good enough being one of 22. I want more. I want to be the best of the 22! That might just be the difference between me and many others: being one of 22 is simply not good enough.

Q: Well, the race in Austria might have seen you shedding some tears. Can you talk us through what was a weekend full of debris…

DK: It was indeed a strange race for me in Austria. It was a very difficult weekend. Qualifying was again a pretty hard ride with these kerbs. But I have to leave that all behind and focus totally on this weekend. Hopefully it is a better weekend. There are some positive signs speed-wise since my comeback to STR - but let's see how I can translate that into a qualifying position. 

Q: You must have been suffering in Austria - twice your car broke into pieces…

DK: Of course that's not a happy situation. On top it means a lot of extra work for my crew. But these things happen, so you better learn from it and move on. There is nothing too much to think about it, as you cannot undo the past.   

Q: Several drivers complained about the kerbs. Were they really that tricky?

DK: These kerbs just were so unpredictable. One time you go over them and nothing happens - you just get away with your style. The next time at the same place you break your suspension. Once that happens you are passenger of an undriveable car. There you go. If you break your suspension that's it. 

Q: Your team mate's father Carlos Sainz Senior was seen having a long conversation with Bernie Ecclestone in Austria. One might assume it was about the future of his son. Who is making your case?

DK: Myself! I don't have any better advocate for my cause. And in the end if they talk that's their business. 

Q: Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost has clearly said that if he has a say he wants to race with the same driver line-up again 2017. You must be hoping that Franz has a say…

DK: I like Toro Rosso. It is an excellent team - and actually it's very much like my home. And I can promise that I will work day and night to bring good results to the team. I am really hungry. Wherever the future will take me, I can promise that I will do my utmost. 

Q: Does it help that the next possible candidate for a Toro Rosso driver - junior team member Pierre Gasly - is not currently shining quite the way Red Bull would have hoped?

DK: It is hard to have an opinion on somebody else. I focus on my thing - and I have my hands full of taking care of my own fate. Right now I am living one day at a time, not focusing on next week, next month or next year. There will be massive changes next year so this should be a big chance for everybody, including Toro Rosso. I like Toro Rosso - but, of course, there are many things that have to be discussed, from many perspectives. And if we have to, we will discuss. Right now I don't know where I am tomorrow, in a couple of weeks or in one month's time - but I think that things will fall into place. There is room for discussion!

Q: With all the rule changes in the wings, many teams will say at least keep the driver line-up stable - we don't need a rookie here…

DK: Yes, that could probably be a chance… But I don't know what to say, as it is not my decision.

Q: But you want to stay in Formula One racing. Period?

DK: Of course. On top, the new regulations should be in line with what I like - so it should be a perfect fit. I am not going through the easiest of periods right now, so it only can get better! 

Q: For someone so young you have been through quite a lot already in F1. Which was the most ‘educational'? And in hindsight, what would you avoid the next time?

DK: Well, if you are in your third year in F1 you want a bit more security and not always having to fear that every race could be your last one. I had to experience that the hard way. That shook up a lot in me and in the future I would want to go without that kind of ‘surprise'. But on the other hand, I have learned a lot from it, so sometimes the bad makes the good - because nothing will really break me down anymore. (laughs) 

Q: Despite Red Bull Racing's form last season, Silverstone was one of the brighter spots of the year for you. And you were also in the points here in 2014 with Toro Rosso. What does that mean for this weekend?

DK: I like these fast speed corners here. It gives me confidence to race here - but your car has to follow. I hope that I can put together a good set-up with my engineers, and if we manage to do that I know that I can be competitive. 

Q: So what did you make of today's running?

DK: That we still have work ahead. It was a reasonably good day, but of course I had hoped to be a bit more in front on the time sheet. But this is a track where the driver can make difference. I think the fact that I have always scored here - even with cars that were not at the top of their game - speaks for itself. We will work hard this evening to optimise the package as much as possible - and then let's see what we will be able to do tomorrow afternoon. The good news here is that overtaking is possible.