Daniil Kvyat produced “probably the best qualifying lap of this year for me” – but thinks it has come too late to save his AlphaTauri seat.
The Russian will start the Sakhir Grand Prix sixth on the grid having been just over half a second off Valtteri Bottas’ pole position time, continuing the useful pace he had shown in the practice sessions.
But even if Kvyat shines in the race and matches, or even improves upon, his fourth place in the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola last month, he realises he is likely to be turfed out of the team in favour of Japanese rookie Yuki Tsunoda.
“It was a great session, tidy,” said Kvyat, who will start three places ahead of his AlphaTauri team-mate Pierre Gasly.
“Very tricky with the traffic out there at the beginning, but in Q3 a very tidy lap, very happy with myself.
“I kept it clean and cool today and as a result we can start from a very high position, so really happy. Probably the best lap of this year for me in quali.”
I’m very happy as it was a great session, I would say it’s my best Qualy of the year. It was very tricky out there with the traffic in the beginning. In Q3 I put in a very tidy lap, kept it clean & cool, and I’m quite proud of myself & how I drove today 1/2#F1 #SakhirGP #DK26 pic.twitter.com/wtcQVQWREB
— Daniil Kvyat (@kvyatofficial) December 5, 2020
But in terms of his 2021 prospects, the 26-year-old said, as quoted by Motorsport Week: “I think the chances are very slim and I accepted it a while ago.
“It’s the only seat available right now in F1 and they [Red Bull, AlphaTauri’s owners] need to promote their young drivers and this is the last thing I heard.
“So it’s fair. I’m not living in an illusion. I know that’s how the things are and of course it’s normal.
“I’m just doing everything I can in these last races, last qualifying [sessions], you know, in the sessions that matter, to show what I’m worth.
“Today was one of those sessions to remind that I can put it in the right place and if it’s not next year in F1, then I’ll do my best to be back in 2022 hungrier than ever and hopefully in a place where I can show my potential.”
Kvyat does not think he was flattered by his qualifying performance in terms of his chances of making a similar impact in the race.
He added: “The race pace definitely doesn’t look bad and hopefully we can keep it up tomorrow.
“It will be a tricky race for sure – we saw in the Formula 2 race how close everyone is, how traffic will be very crucial. There are plenty of things to think about ahead of tomorrow.”
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