Kvyat Confident in Toro Rosso Pace Ahead of First French Grand Prix Outing

by Paul Hensby

Daniil Kvyat believes Scuderia Toro Rosso’s performance this weekend at the Circuit Paul Ricard for the French Grand Prix should be better than it was two weeks ago at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, with the Russian eyeing a fourth consecutive top ten finish.

Toro Rosso did not have a strong weekend last time out in Canada but Kvyat was still able to bring home a point thanks to a late overtake on McLaren F1 Team’s Carlos Sainz Jr., but what was pleasing for the Russian was the ability of his team to race smart despite not having the fastest car on track.

“I am looking forward to driving a Formula 1 car around the Paul Ricard circuit for the first time, and I feel our performance there could be better than in the last race in Montréal,” said Kvyat.  “We took the long view in Canada, when it was clear that we weren’t at the most competitive level, so we had to put together a smart race.

“I had quite a big fight to stay in the points and in the end we managed it. The last laps I pushed really hard to overtake the McLaren and I squeezed everything out of the car. Just a single point is still a confidence boost for the team as we start a really busy run of races in Europe.”

Having missed the race in 2018 as he sat the year on the side-lines as a Scuderia Ferrari test driver, the race this weekend will be Kvyat’s first at Paul Ricard for eight years, and his experience this year will be completely different compared to his Eurocup Formula Renault outing of 2011.

He hopes Toro Rosso will be able to get the maximum out of their STR14 package at the track so he can continue his good start to the season with another top ten finish, with Kvyat having taken four points finishes in the opening seven Grand Prix.

“I’ve raced at Paul Ricard before, but it was a long time ago – 2011 in Formula Renault Eurocup,” said the Russian.  “I came second in one race and third in the other and I think the layout we used then was more or less the same as this weekend’s, although one corner was different.

“I don’t remember much about the circuit from all those years back and a Formula Renault is very different to an F1 car. Of course, I’ve tackled the track in the simulator, but I am keen to get out on track on Friday and learn it as quickly as possible.

“Ricard is a quick track and, like in Canada, straightline speed will not be the least important thing, but there are also plenty of quick corners and a technical section. So we will try and optimise our package to that circuit and get the very most out of it, just as we have done in recent races.”

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