Daniil Kvyat praised Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda for operating at a “high level” to start off eight days of Formula 1 winter testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
Returning to the team he left at the end of 2017, Kvyat managed 77 laps with the Honda-powered STR14 to end the first day sixth fastest out of eleven runners.
The Russian’s time of a 1 minute 19.464 seconds set on the C4 tyres – the second-softest dry compound available to the teams – was 1.3s off of pacesetter Sebastian Vettel‘s pace for Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow on the harder C3 tyres. He also ran alongside reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton on-track midway through the afternoon session in an unexpected pre-season battle.
Kvyat expressed his pleasure in returning to driving duties after a year as Ferrari’s development driver and told of the importance in getting early mileage in the car.
“It was a productive day today and it’s good to be back behind the wheel,” said Kvyat.
“We managed to do quite a few laps, which is important on the first day of testing to get some mileage under your belt so you can see how the car behaves.
“It’s too early to draw conclusions, but I think we have a good baseline for now and we need to keep working on that.”
24-year-old Kvyat was impressed by the standards set by Toro Rosso from the start of the day and found no problems in returning to the team’s setup. Team-mate Alexander Albon will make his official F1 testing debut tomorrow, with the pair alternating days in the car.
“Every time we were on track it was smooth running, and everyone was operating at a high level,” he added.
“I have another three days in the car which gives us the chance to improve on the things we worked on today, so we will look over the data to see which direction we will take on Wednesday.
“I worked with my new engineers and we all understood each other well straight away. It was certainly a good start.”