Daniil Kvyat said the timing of the crazy events at the Sakhir Grand Prix all worked against himself and AlphaTauri.
Initially it looked like business as usual around the Outer Circuit in Bahrain as George Russell and Valtteri Bottas strolled away from the pack, looking set to score a comfortable one-two finish for Mercedes.
But when the Silver Arrows fell apart in the pits, everything changed.
Jack Aitken’s crash at the final turn caused the Safety Car to be deployed after the front wing of his Williams came to rest on the racing line, at which point Mercedes called Russell and Bottas in for a tyre change.
But due to a glitch in the radio software half of Mercedes’ crew didn’t get the call to ready the tyres, meaning Russell was sent back out on Bottas’ tyres, while Bottas then had to return to the track on the same hard tyres he had been running.
The door would open again later on as Russell suffered a puncture while running P2 and catching Sergio Perez.
In the end it was Perez who benefited the most from Mercedes’ woes, taking the first win of his career ahead of Renault’s Esteban Ocon and Racing Point team-mate Lance Stroll.
In such crazy circumstances timing was key, and sadly it didn’t work at all in Kvyat’s favour who crossed the line P7.
— Scuderia AlphaTauri (@AlphaTauriF1) December 6, 2020
“Unfortunately the luck wasn’t there, just the timing. Not luck, even, just timing,” he said after the Sakhir GP, as quoted by RaceFans.net.
“Some other guys, they risked, we didn’t even have a chance to risk, really. We had to follow our plan.
“It was a very strong race, I think the strongest race of the year for me. Yesterday was the strongest qualifying of the year for me and today the strongest race of the year. So I’m very happy with my driving.
“Of course, when you see Racing Point winning and Renault on the podium and we know we’ve been quicker or there with them, I feel a bit disappointed in a way not to be there, not to have opportunities to fight for it. But we did everything right. It was one of those days where it just didn’t work but we still did a solid job to bring home solid points.”
Kvyat heads into the season-ending Abu Dhabi GP with 32 points on the board, putting him one behind Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel in P13.
That could well be his final race in Formula 1 for the foreseeable future with F2 star Yuki Tsunoda hotly tipped to take Kvyat’s seat for 2021.