Daniil Kvyat 'shocked' by his defeat in Red Bull's Game of Thrones
"There was no real explanation," says new Toro Rosso driver
By Pete Gill
Last Updated: 13/05/16 12:11pm
Daniil Kvyat has admitted he was "shocked" by his demotion from Red Bull to junior outfit Toro Rosso.
Just two races after finishing on the podium in Bahrain, Kvyat has lost his seat to Max Verstappen following a calamitous Russian GP.
The youngster has revealed he was first told of his demotion in a phone call from Helmut Marko, the right-hand man to Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz, while watching TV programme Game of Thrones in his Moscow flat.
"There was no real explanation. If the bosses want something to happen then they make it happen - it's as simple as that," said Kvyat.
In a highly-charged press conference at Barcelona, in which Kvyat was seated alongside Verstappen and his new Toro Rosso team-mate Carlos Sainz, the Russian vowed: "I will give my answers on the track."
Kvyat added: "The decision was a shock. But there are 17 races left and I have gone back to Toro Rosso, the team l drove for in 2014, and the goals are clear."
Widely identified as a future world champion, Verstappen will partner Daniel Ricciardo for the rest of the season in what promises to be a riveting contest.
"He is very fast and he has a lot of experience in the team," the Dutch teenager acknowledged.
While Red Bull's ruthlessness has been applauded by many in the paddock, the sport's drivers have united to voice their support for Kvyat.
"I really just hope for Daniil," said world champion Lewis Hamilton. "They've got two great drivers here and I hope it doesn't hinder either of their careers. Too much pressure, too much stress, early on can lead the wrong way."
After being out-qualified by Ricciardo in all four of the opening qualifying sessions of the year, Kvyat's last act in a Red Bull car was ramming into the Ferrari car of Sebastian Vettel - the driver he replaced at Red Bull - twice on the first lap at Sochi.
While Marko has suggested that Kvyat struggled to cope with the 'pressure' of Ricciardo's relentless speed, the stakes may actually be even higher for his new contest against Sainz. Even at the respective ages of 22 and 21, the futures of both Kvyat and Sainz in F1 may well hinge on their results over the next seven months.
"I appreciate what Red Bull do - put young talent in the car," said Sainz. "I am sure that if l can show the same speed but with different results then my time will come. I will fight for my chance as much as l can."
Kvyat's Game of Thrones battles haven't ended yet.
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