One driver that does cut a rather polarising figure in the world of F1, apart from Nico Hulkenberg, is none other than Daniil Kvyat. You are more likely to have heard jokes about his under performances in F1 rather than heroic exploits.
Someone not exactly famously nicknamed as ‘Torpedo’ by Sebastian Vettel given the Russian’s 2016 opening lap skirmish at China, Daniil Kvyat is fairly young to be out of Formula 1, a sport he always had his sights on, after enjoying a successful karting stint.
Imagine being jobless at age 27?
That’s the feeling the happy-go-lucky but aggressive-on-the-track driver might be currently stuck with. Moreover, it can never cut a happy feeling to simply observe others with whom you were competing just months before whilst you lay low inside your house probably finishing a bottle of Vodka all by yourself.
But such is life. In the six years of competing at the highest annals of single-seater Grand Prix racing, Daniil Kvyat only has himself to blame for tremendously under-achieving.
But he did show glimpses of pace and raw skill in events where he hardly had any experience of excelling. Most will remember the return of Imola, for instance, for the commanding win that Lewis Hamilton gathered. The defending world champion wasn’t even on pole. But little will be spared to hail the exploits of Daniil Kvyat, who whilst starting from eighth on the grid, managed his best-finish of the 2020 F1 season courtesy of a valiant P4.
That he kept Charles Leclerc behind at Imola may probably be one of the most under-sung narratives of the returning Italian venue of 2020.
And while Kvyat hasn’t really progressed in any form of competitive racing so far having been chucked out of his then Alpha Tauri seat, it mustn’t be forgotten that the young Russian driver boasts the potential and skill to excel.
For arguments sake and with due respect to the Ufa-born driver has against his name three F1 podiums in addition to one fastest lap.
On the other hand, how many podiums has Nico Hulkenberg managed? But comparisons be damned, there’s always been something handy about Kvyat that he failed to convert or let’s say put to good affect for his own advantage.
He’d any day take more risks, going wide on the outside or hitting the kerbs even if it meant to execute an unlikely pass. But all great drivers need more than daredevilry to succeed, they need patience and persistence.
Did Daniil Kvyat have that?
On the track, he’s proven himself to be quite a fierce and unrelenting competitor who cares little about who it is that he’s against- Vettel or Hamilton or even famous 2020 Monza winner Gasly.
But it ought to be said, the one key thing the driver with 112 race entries against his name lacked and may do well to possess if he’s to mount a comeback is consistency. Gasly, currently leading the charge for the Italian outfit proved himself to be the man you’d count on, the fiery Russian- not so much.
But all said and done, is an F1 comeback even on the cards or can it happen anytime soon with Alpha Tauri, Kyvat’s last racing outfit seeming to have opted to go with Tsunoda for the longer run?
Or could it just be that there are some in the F1 paddock- and those persisting with paddock grapevine be damned- just won’t like to see the Russian back again?
With all due respect to F1 veteran and a key member of the Red Bull stable, a man keenly involved in scouting new talent for one of the most mercurial sides in the sport, Helmut Marko doesn’t seem to be a fan of the man.
In a recent interaction with an auto publication that quizzed the veteran Austrian about any possible chances of Kvyat returning to the fore, here’s what Helmut Marko suggested:
“Absolutely not, we are focused on working with our current drivers. But he (Kvyat) also has a contract with Alpine.”
But what does that mean?
Can an option be the ballsy Russian if, in case, Fernando Alonso, clearly the man struggling against a vastly superior Ocon, doesn’t perform as per the team’s desire?
Shouldn’t Kvyat then be considered for a role?
For starters, he’s in his prime years. He’ll be just 28 at the end of this year. Secondly, he doesn’t lack experience. Are 110 race starts suggestive of a driver being an amateur?
So the key question is, can there be a second inning for the Russian who wore his heart on his sleeve till the time he lasted in F1 or is a comeback a foregone conclusion?
Here’s what we know. He tried everything in his capacity until the very end of the season, managing to outscore Gasly at Sakhir, the penultimate race of the season with a gritty P7 and even out qualified the endearing French driver at the season-ending Abu Dhabi contest, gathering a P7 where Gasly struggled for pace (P11).