Helmut Marko doubts Daniil Kvyat’s now two-race spat with Sebastian Vettel will spill into even more race weekends. The pair argued before going onto the podium in China, before German Vettel launched a foul-mouthed radio tirade against the Russian in the wake of their Sochi clash. Maurizio Arrivabene said Vettel had also gone “ballistic” behind closed doors, but Marko, Kvyat’s boss, doubts the former Red Bull driver will hold a grudge. “I think Sebastian is so logical that he knows revenge will bring nothing to him. Instead he has to focus on getting good starts and bringing the car home in one piece. So I don’t believe this will be a problem,” said the Austrian. Marko agrees with Ferrari’s Vettel that Kvyat was entirely to blame for Sochi and vowed to speak to the 22-year-old. “Let’s cool down a bit,” he said. “During the week, we will talk about this.”
Amid his dark period, Kvyat is at least receiving some backing from the F1 paddock. “Daniil made a mistake with the first contact,” veteran David Coulthard told Tass news agency, “but for the second one he didn’t expect such a sharp deceleration from Vettel. Unfortunately, after a great race in China, Kvyat disappointed on his home track but he remains a terrific driver“.
Former Red Bull driver Robert Doornbos agrees: “Kvyat misjudged the braking with the first touch, but the second was a racing incident. It is of course very bad that you take the lead Ferrari off, but it seems that Vettel had a problem. That corner is basically full throttle but you can see that Vettel is off the gas.”
Nevertheless, it is an awkward time for Kvyat, amid intense speculation that Max Verstappen is being lined up to replace him for 2017. “The Russian has a few months to prove himself to (team boss) Christian Horner,” former F1 driver Franck Montagny told Le Point. “He is clearly in danger of losing his place in the team. With what happened in China he is now under a lot of pressure. For next year it is likely that Red Bull will prefer one of the two Toro Rosso drivers“.