Kvyat says Hulk smash was ‘racing incident’

Red Bull pair Daniil Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo battle in Malaysia.

Red Bull pair Daniil Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo battle in Malaysia.

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Daniil Kvyat has defended Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg over the pair’s coming together at the Malaysian Grand Prix.

The Red Bull racer was left facing the wrong way when he was pitched into a spin on lap 25 as he closed the door on Hulkenberg as the duo battled for 10th place.

The German was handed a 10-second penalty for the incident, though Kvyat was quick to defend Hulkenberg.

“I think it’s just a racing incident, if we didn’t do this we would both gain, he went for it but I don’t have anything against him,” he said.

It was a torrid raceday for Red Bull on the whole as neither Kvyat nor team-mate Ricciardo could capitalise on their qualifying pace.

With Ricciardo starting on the second row in fourth, and Kvyat one place behind, the RB11 struggled in the searing heat in Kuala Lumpur, and the pair dropped down the order.

Daniil Kvyat steps out of the cockpit.

Daniil Kvyat steps out of the cockpit.

Despite the spin, Kvyat recovered to overtake team-mate Ricciardo in the closing stages for ninth place, with the Australian having to settle for a single point in 10th. Both were lapped by winner, and former Red Bull Racing man Sebastian Vettel in the Ferrari.

Kvyat said: “We took the maximum out of the situation today. We are lacking some pace and need to catch up, I am confident that the team can do it; it’s a challenge and we have to face it with a strong mind.

“Fighting for P9 and P10 is not what we want, we struggled today and we need to work out why.”

Ricciardo was left lamenting a brake problem which he feels hindered his pace.

He said: “I was ready for a fight going into the race and hoping for something special – but it wasn’t to be.

“I had a bit of contact on the first lap, which hurt us and then we had a few issues throughout the race, which we had to manage.

“It took a long time to pass cars as we didn’t have the pace and we had some problems with the brakes, which didn’t make our afternoon easy.”