Daniil Kvyat says his first day back with Toro Rosso felt like returning home.
Kvyat swapped seats with Max Verstappen last week in a highly-publicised driver change by Red Bull. From the outside, Kvyat’s return was unspectacular, finishing 12th and 15th in the day’s two sessions, though Fridays are rarely an accurate indication of pace.
The Russian driver started his career with Toro Rosso in 2014 and he says the team has made big improvements since he left for Red Bull at the end of that season.
Asked if it was like returning home on Friday, he said: “Yeah, it is. Back in 2014 when I was leaving it felt like I was leaving home and now it feels like I came back. But it’s not easy, home is always changing — two years ago I was gone and Toro Rosso is a grown up team now.
“I now need to adjust to their references in terms of all the chassis work, engine work and so on, and find how to drive and where the limit is — that doesn’t happen unfortunately in one session.”
Kvyat had faced the press on Thursday afternoon and given a dignified display with many questions about the situation and his F1 future beyond 2016. The Russian laughed off the suggestion the conference had been the toughest moment of his career.
“To be honest it was finally not a really boring press conference so at least I had something to say. Sometimes I’m not asked something. Of course I was understanding it was a press conference where everyone wanted answers to I maybe thought about it more maybe than usual.
“But to be honest it’s not difficult. We have to talk, it’s part of our job. The most difficult is always on track and that should be the main focus. If the press conference becomes the hardest part of your weekend you’re in the wrong profession.”
Kvyat’s gaps to teammate Carlos Sainz on Friday were significant, over half a second in FP1 and 1.2s in FP2. However Kvyat is confident he will be more competitive on Saturday as he made the wrong call on strategy.
“I think the general feeling was ok. I didn’t warm up my tyres in the second session so it was the wrong call from me, tried a different strategy which didn’t pay off. But at least we know where it’s all laying, the general feeling with the car is growing each lap.
“There are a few things we can cut the sharp ends in some areas, work on the details, and I think Toro Rosso has a very competitive package to be honest. One car warmed up the tyres, one car didn’t warm up the tyres and the one that did warm up the tyres looked very competitive. Hopefully I will join the competitive pack tomorrow.”