SOCHI, Russia: Daniil Kvyat of Russia hopes he can find the speed to thrill local fans and threaten an end to Nico Rosberg’s winning start to the season in this weekend’s third Russian Grand Prix at the Sochi Autodrom.
The Russian Red Bull racer believes his team has found the form to mount a challenge to both Mercedes and Ferrari after a disappointing 2015 season, and he wants to prove that potential at the Black Sea resort circuit.
“I don’t want to predict it, but it looks like our chassis is quite strong and good,” he said. “And who knows? I mean everything is possible.”
“Last year, even with a bit of trouble, we looked very competitive in Monaco, but this year probably we have a chance to be even more competitive,” he said.
“We don’t know where it’s going to bring us, but there are some good opportunities coming,” Kyvat added.
Kvyat finished third in the Chinese Grand Prix on April 17 behind victorious Rosberg of Mercedes and fellow-German Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari.
He demonstrated bullish determination and confidence on the opening lap and pace and skill to secure that podium finish, a result that has set the standard for his team.
After three straight season-opening wins and six in succession overall, Rosberg has a clear 36-points lead in the embryonic drivers’ title race ahead of Mercedes team-mate and defending three-time champion Lewis Hamilton.
His confidence high, his driving immaculate, he has demonstrated speed and precision while the luckless Hamilton has suffered three successive races where opening lap collisions have damaged his prospects.
The Englishman, however, has been fast enough to carry a serious threat, and still believes he has the belief and motivation to secure more success.
Dismissing talk of possible retirement, he has stressed he is keen on winning and wants more – and the sooner the better.
“We all are greedy, we always want more,” he said. “You know that you have just won the championship, you still feel healthy, you still feel fit. Plus you know that next year is going to be the same year, it is just going to be good.”
“So you don’t want to stop and give it to the other guy. You want to stay and do it again,” he added.
Hamilton not only has to end his run of losses to Rosberg to kick-start his title chase, he has to resist the challenge of a hungry Ferrari team that, in Sochi, will be introducing a new front wing and an upgraded engine.
“I am running out of time,” admitted Hamilton as he departed Shanghai. “I need to start putting a few results together.”
At least he has winning form in Sochi to inspire him, having won both the two previous races in 2014 and 2015 for Mercedes with drives that suggested the smooth circuit suits him well.
Another pole position and a first lap without incident will be key to him ending his run of frustrations and making sure he has a realistic chance of defending his championship crown.