Daniil Kvyat says his remarkable performance in the mixed conditions during the German Grand Prix shows that he has matured since his previous stint in Formula 1.
Kvyat in the Toro Rosso Honda performed achieved the team’s first ever podium in the sport since Sebastian Vettel‘s win at the 2008 Italian Grand Prix. The Russian and the team gambled on the dry tyres in the late stages of the Grand Prix, benefiting when the rest of the field made their switch after the safety car, which put Kvyat and Racing Point‘s Lance Stroll in a strong position.
The two drivers were in contention for a podium position, with Kvyat passing Stroll for second before one final safety car came out. Kvyat lost second place to Vettel, but maintained third to grab his first podium in F1 since the 2016 Chinese Grand Prix.
Kvyat says his return to the podium feels incredible and thanks the team for their performance over the weekend which led to the team’s first podium in 11 years.
“It’s incredible to be back on the podium in what could be called my ‘second career’,” said Kvyat. “I thought it would never happen again in my life, so I’m so incredibly happy.
“There’s so many emotions I still need some time to let it all sink in! This achievement is so great for us since it’s 11 years since Toro Rosso’s last podium with Sebastian in Monza. It was such an amazing day and I’m so happy.
“Thank you to everyone in the team, it was just an incredible day. I was readier than ever to fight for this kind of position.“
The result marks Kvyat’s best result at the team in his return to F1, after missing the 2018 season having previously been dropped by Red Bull.
The Russian raced with Red Bull Racing for 2015 and for four races in 2016, before he was dropped in favour of German Grand Prix winner Max Verstappen. Kvyat struggled with the switch for the remainder of 2016 and 2017, which eventually led to him being dropped from the programme completely at the end of 2017, only to return to the Toro Rosso team for the 2019 season.
The twenty-five year old’s weekend got better as before the race, Kvyat became a father as his girlfriend Kelly Piquet, daughter of three-time F1 world champion Nelson Piquet, gave birth to their first child.
Kvyat stated at the beginning of the year that his year away from the sport allowed him to mature and cool his head, which he believes today proved that his maturity has grown since his previous stint in the sport. He also spoke about the strategy call that led to his podium success, saying the call was 50/50 to do it a lap earlier, but the called proved to be right.
“This year I feel more mature, my head is cooler, and I’m readier to fight on top, so I think I proved that today to myself and everyone around here. I hope this will become a habit soon!
“These kinds of races aren’t easy, it was a tough call to pit that lap earlier, but it’s a 50/50 call between the team and me, we win and lose together and today we won together.”