After a nightmare race last time out in Germany, Daniil Kvyat is excited and ready to go for the upcoming round in Portimao.
Things didn’t exactly go to plan last weekend, as the Russian was cruelly robbed of a points finish early on in the race following a hit from former team-mate Alexander Albon. Kvyat was forced to pit for a nose change and subsequently dropped to fifteenth – something he says he was not pleased about.
“Unfortunately, the Nürburgring race did not go well for me from lap twelve onward when I got hit by Albon, but these things happen in racing. He got penalised, but my race was damaged from then on and so was my car.
“Up until then, I was definitely racing for solid points and I had been happy with my lap in Quali. However, the events were out of my control and luck has not been my strongest point this year, to be honest. Nothing seems to have landed in my basket for free. I have had to work hard for everything.“
The Russian remains optimistic, however, and he plans to give it his all again in the next rounds. Rumours have been circulating the paddock that FIA Formula 2 star Yuki Tsunoda is tipped to take his seat at Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda, and they are gaining traction each day as team principal Franz Tost releases new information regarding the 2021 drive. Because of this, the pressure is on Kvyat to deliver the necessary results to remain in Formula 1, and he certainly seems focused on achieving this.
“We will turn the page and move on. We keep working, we keep digging with my engineers and I am still happy with the way we approach each race weekend. Our understanding of the car is much better, and it will come right soon. It’s been good for the last few races and it was just this last weekend where we were unable to score points.“
Kvyat is one of many drivers on the grid that hasn’t been to Portimao in his career, and he is therefore excitedly anticipating an ‘interesting challenge’. The track is filled with elevation changes and tricky corners and all drivers- especially Daniil- seem to be eager to experience the new track.
“I’ve never been to Portimao, so it will be a completely new experience for me and I guess for most of the other drivers. It will be an interesting challenge. A while ago, I did a few laps of the Algarve circuit on the simulator, but it’s not so fresh in my mind. I think we will have to work hard and learn everything we can on Friday and Saturday morning. It’s a fresh start! It is quite an unusual layout, with drops and climbs, so something different to work on. We should get ideal weather there at this time of year, in the low 20s maybe, certainly better than the unusual conditions we had at the Nürburgring.“
Pierre Gasly: “The team is doing all it can and that makes me happy”
It was another superstar performance from Pierre Gasly last time out, as F1’s newest race-winner came home in sixth place – a result he says he was ‘super happy’ with.
The Frenchman feels confident and settled at AlphaTauri, and seems to be getting better and better each race. He attributes such success to the Faenza-based team, thanking them for ‘doing all they can’ and pushing harder every weekend. The six points he scored in Germany will be vital in for the Italian outfit in aiming for sixth or higher in the constructor standings and the lead he has over team-mate Kvyat is certainly standing him in good stead for the driver market.
“At the moment I feel I am very comfortable with the way we are all working as a team, and race by race we are increasing our understanding of what it takes to get the most out of the car. I am satisfied with how things are going and happy that the results are there. Now we take that momentum forward to the next race.”
Just like his AlphaTauri team-mate, Gasly has never visited Portimao and so he will inevitably be spending copious amounts of time out on track on Friday in order to maximise his understanding of the tricky circuit. Gasly is not only looking forward to the opportunities in store, but also the warmer weather after last week’s freezing race at the Nürburgring.
“I have never been to Portimao, but I have had two days in the simulator to prepare for it. I find it interesting going to new places.
“Portimao looks to be a very nice track, with plenty of elevation changes and some unusual corners, and although I think a few teams tested there many years ago, it has never really been used for Formula 1. It will be important therefore for the team to be well prepared and to do a good job in free practice.
“Let’s see how we go there. At the moment, we seem quite strong on Sundays, managing to fight for points, even if we struggle a bit in qualifying. I am looking forward to it and looking forward to some warmer weather, as it was really cold at the Nürburgring, so it will be nice to return to more normal conditions.“