I’ve spent much time defending the aggressive moves of Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel. I’ve advocated for Nico Rosberg in Spa of 2014 and for him to get aggressive with his battle against Hamilton. I’ve defended Schumacher and Alonso as well as Webber for their aggressive moves.
No surprise then that I defended Daniil Kvyat for his aggressive move in the Chinese Grand Prix at turn one.
Yes, the move was an opportunity that the Russian took. It was a similar move that Williams F1’s Valtteri Bottas took earlier this season and I didn’t like the penalty he gained for his efforts.
Kvyat’s move was met with some comment from Vettel and it reminded me of the days when Senna scolded Schumacher or Schumacher scolded Sato or Webber scolded Vettel if I’m honest. The veteran giving the young gun a dressing down.
i’ve been an advocate of Kvyat’s for some time now and get slightly miffed when people suggest that the team should keep Ricciardo and ditch Kvyat in favor of Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen of Carlos Sainz. Daniil have been delivering performances and I think the young man has ever right to be on the grid and in a decent car. He’s got more raw speed and talent than others on the grid and I really like his style.
What would people have said if it were Ricciardo making the move in China? Would Vettel have had the same response? I doubt it. People have, for good reason, equated Ricciardo as a top-line driver and aggressive…and he is…but they don’t see Kvyat as that kind of driver worthy of that kind of respect. I do.
If you pressed me, I would admit that he isn’t quite there on race craft as say, Ricciardo, Rosberg, Raikkonen, and maybe even Bottas but he can run with them and I like the fact that he told Vettel to deal with it because he’s not braking for anyone and is taking every opportunity he see. That, as it turns out, is the case for Vettel and Hamilton and Alonso by the way.
Sebastian Vettel has had time to view video and has toned down his commentary:
“What happened on the first lap, in the end, is a racing incident,” Vettel said.
“Kimi locked up in Turn 1. I tried to go inside to pass him. Daniil was behind me. He had a better start and was lining up for the same move initially. I was determined to overtake Kimi. Daniil was determined to overtake me.
“Kimi came back from the left, Kvyat came from the back right and I was reacting to him. From my side I didn’t really know where to go, I was sandwiched between Kimi and Daniil.
“I tried to back out of it, going off throttle and hitting the brakes, but there was no way, so I had contact with Kimi.
“Obviously I am terribly sorry for what has happened. Touching the car with the same colours is not right.”
Kvyat defended his move:
“It was a logical move: you see the gap and you go for it,” he said. “If he [Vettel] didn’t have a car on the outside it would have been okay: I only have two eyes so I couldn’t see Kimi, and it’s his [Vettel’s] business to deal with that.
“When the emotions are hot, you talk about it – but in our case to get on the podium you have to take risks. It was an essential move for me and it paid off.
“We can talk for hours about it but I am on the podium; if I didn’t go for it who knows where I would be. I will keep on risking like this and everyone should expect that!”
I understand Vettel’s point but there is an issue that caught my eye. Raikkonen’s quick entrance back on track which squeezed Vettel leaving him nowhere to go. It was an aggressive re-entry to the racing line that caught Vettel off guard and as it turns out, it was Kimi’s re-entry that caught Sauber’s Marcuss Ericsson off guard and he turned abruptly to avoid the Fin and took off Lewis Hamilton’s nose.
There’s more at play here than just making a diving move for position and I doubt Red Bull would want Daniil to do anything different…at least they didn’t when Vettel drove for them.
Hat Tip: F1