The rise and rise of Tilbrook’s Russian Daniil Kvyat

Daniil Kvyat's stock at Red Bull Racing is on the rise.
Daniil Kvyat's stock at Red Bull Racing is on the rise.

While home-crowd hero Lewis Hamilton stole the headlines at Silverstone last weekend, Daniil Kvyat was an unsung hero at the British Grand Prix.

The quiet 21-year-old is a far cry from the outspoken and in-your-face persona given out by his energy drinks employer, but after a slow start to life at Red Bull Racing, he is beginning to live up to the hype.

While the internal struggles between Red Bull and engine supplier Renault continue to rumble on and steal the headlines, and while Ricciardo continues to be the ever-smiling face of the team, Kvyat has been quietly finding his feet and is beginning to show the sort of stuff expected of a top performer.

Stepping into the shoes of departing four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel was something of a poisoned chalice for whoever was set to drive alongside Daniel Ricciardo this season, and especially so for someone in only their second season in F1.

But few could have predicted the team’s dramatic fall from grace and the struggles both Kvyat and Ricciardo would have to face as they attempt to return to the top of the mountain.

Thrust into the upper echelons of the grid after a solid debut season at sister team Toro Rosso, Kvyat appeared to be at odds with the RB11 and couldn’t keep up with Ricciardo in the early stages of the season.

With the Australian taking to Red Bull Racing like a duck to water after cutting his teeth at Toro Rosso, many questioned whether promoting Kvyat so quickly was the right decision.

He had just two points to his name after the opening three races, but it was becoming more and more apparent that the problems didn’t lie within the driver line-up, but the car and engine package.

It wasn’t until the jewel in the F1 crown though that Kvyat began to show what he’s made of.

With Renault’s power limitations less emphatic around the principality, Kvyat qualified a fine fifth, beating his team-mate to come home fourth - his best result in F1.

But while Red Bull have struggled to perform on power-hungry circuits like Canada and Austria, Kvyat has quietly gone about his business and got on with the job at hand.

Out-qualifying Ricciardo in four of the last five races, the Russian has also out-scored his race-winning team-mate in all but one race since Monaco, suggesting he’s more adept at this level than initially perceived.

And but for an inspired pitstop call from his predecessor at Silverstone, Kvyat could well have found himself battling for the final podium place.

As it was, a spin in the wet cost him and chances of that battle and he had to settle for sixth place behind the Williams pair who had initially led the race.

His recent purple patch, matched with a downturn in form from Ricciardo, means Kvyat is now just nine points adrift of his team-mate in the overall standings in seventh and eighth respectively, though Red Bull are considerably behind in the constructor’s battle, though fourth is just about right for where they are in the grand scheme of things.

And with Toro Rosso’s starlets Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jnr beginning to show signs of their inexperience, with little mistakes creeping in here and there, Kvyat is looking more and more the like the finished article.

Red Bull now need to provide him with a car capable of putting him at the sharp end.