Daniil Kvyat said he was pleased to how his return to Formula 1 was going, right until the second segment of Qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix, where he was unable to match his Q1 time that would have seen him advance into Q3.
The Scuderia Toro Rosso driver will start fifteenth on the grid after encountering traffic when he least wanted it, a result of an off from Scuderia Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel, and this left him 0.242 seconds off advancing into Q3 but 0.263 seconds slower than his Q1 time. This also ensured he was out-qualified by his team-mate Alexander Albon, who will start on the row ahead of him in thirteenth.
“I’m happy with how the weekend went until Qualifying,” said Kvyat. “It was perfect until Q2 where things got a bit scrappy.
“I had a bit of traffic on the last lap when Sebastian went off the track. I’m not at all blaming him but I lost time there. We need to remain optimistic because we still have to extract everything from the car, otherwise the timesheets would surely be different.
“I think my lap from Q1 would have been enough for Q3, but if you do it once you need to be able to do it twice, so we will work to understand where it went a bit wrong.”
Kvyat is back in Formula 1 after a spell on the side-lines but was happy to be back pushing a car towards its limit in Qualifying trim, and he is now focused on making gains on Sunday to aim for a first points finish since the United States Grand Prix of 2017.
“It’s really nice to be back pushing the car to the limit, I’ve enjoyed every lap this weekend – it’s been cool!” said the Russian. “I think we can try to recover a few positions tomorrow as our long runs didn’t look too bad and with good tyre management and strategy we’ll see where it will get us!”