Daniil Kvyat was seriously hot stuff a few years ago. He crushed it in his rookie GP3 season, winning the title whilst Carlos Sainz Jr. could only finish 10th in the championship. Then in his debut year with Toro Rosso he was fast enough and exciting enough to see off teammate Jean-Eric Vergne, and earn a promotion to Red Bull after just one season.
Four years later and he’s gone back down the ladder almost as quickly as went up it, breaking a few rungs on the way. In the process he earned the unenviable nickname of ‘Torpedo’ thanks to his tendency for crashing – hard – and often into other people. Here are eight of his ‘most Kvyat’ moments.
In his first F1 season, Kvyat was somewhat erratic. He was also pretty damn fast, but it was clear he still had a bit of learning to do.
That included learning how to be a torpedo, as at Monza he came into the first chicane way too hot thanks to a brake failure and almost ploughed right into the back of Kimi Raikkonen. There were still some targeting issues to sort out, but the first test of The Torpedo showed promise. Still, amazing save, though!
Following Sebastian Vettel’s departure to Ferrari Kvyat got promoted to Red Bull. Things didn’t start brilliantly though, as on his very first day in the RB11 he went off track in the ‘Camo Bull’, damaging the front wing.
Normally that’s no biggie, but Red Bull only had one front wing available, which meant Kvyat had to spend the rest of the day testing the car without a front wing whilst a new part got flown out to the track.
Suzuka takes no prisoners, as Kvyat found out to his cost later that year. On his final run in Q3, he clipped the grass and went off into the gravel, flipping his car.
The 2015 US GP basically sums up Kvyat’s entire career. Loads of early promise at the beginning, some wobbles in the middle, and then just accidents towards the end.
In the damp early stages of the race he found himself fighting with Lewis Hamilton for the lead. He slipped back in the race and then embarrassingly dropped it on the kerbs coming through the penultimate corner.
Now up to this point, Kvyat had simply been a fast, if slightly crash-prone driver. In 2016 he became a full-on torpedo.
In China a brilliantly optimistic move at turn one made Vettel angry (because Vettel), saying the Russian ‘came in like a torpedo’. Boom, just like that, he had an unflattering nickname.
Undeterred by this, Dany then decided to show Vettel the real meaning of the word ‘torpedo’ during his home race in Sochi next time out.
Oof! To make matters worse, Kvyat knocked Vettel’s car into Ricciardo and damaged that too, dropping both Red Bull’s right down the order.
It was all the excuse the team needed to promote Verstappen to the main team and demote Kvyat back to Toro Rosso for the next race.
An incredibly demotivated Kvyat struggled through much of the rest of 2016 before being re-signed to Toro Rosso for 2017. Things weren’t going much better, and at the Red Bull Ring The Torpedo made a triumphant return.
After making a decent start, he locked his brakes going into turn one and punted both Verstappen and Fernando Alonso. They were out of the race, whilst Kvyat struggled on to finish 16th and last.
At the very next race Dany was at it again on the first lap – and this time it was his teammate who felt the full force of The Torpedo.
To be fair to Kvyat, neither he nor Sainz was willing to give up the position as they entered the Maggotts/Becketts complex side by side. But it was Dany who got on the grass and slid into to other Toro Rosso, putting Sainz out of the race.
Kvyat took his Torpedo nickname in good humour, and even ran a special helmet design at Sochi in 2017 with him riding on a torpedo. But even so, with his F1 career hanging by a thread, it was still slightly awkward when he was announced ahead of the US GP as “Dany ‘The Torpedoooooo’ Kvyat!”
Despite what he said was his best race of the season it seemed the decision to drop him had already been made, as shortly afterwards it was announced that he was no longer a part of Toro Rosso.
Was that his final Torpedo moment? Only time will tell, but if so, at least it was kinda light-hearted, and not a case of yet another first lap accident.