How Kvyat Lost His F1 Seat to Verstappen at Red Bull Racing

Max Verstappen won his first Formula 1 race after swapping seats with Daniil Kvyat in 2016, and has since become a three-time world champion, while Kvyat, who began his career in 2013 and set a record as the youngest driver to score a point, has had a middling career and currently competes in the World Endurance Championship.

Highlights

‣ Max Verstappen and Daniil Kvyat swapped seats in the 2016 Formula 1 season, with Verstappen winning his first race in the Red Bull car.
‣ Kvyat started his Formula 1 career in 2013 with Toro Rosso, and became the youngest driver to ever score a point in Formula 1.
‣ Verstappen made his Formula 1 debut in 2015 with Toro Rosso, and received three awards at the end of his first season.
‣ After the switch, Verstappen went on to win the Spanish Grand Prix and became the youngest driver with a Formula 1 victory, while Kvyat continued to drive for Toro Rosso and later AlphaTauri.


Max Verstappen’s first victory in the Formula 1 season was a hot topic. It happened after a seat swap with Daniil Kvyat. Kvyat was in the Red Bull, Verstappen in the Toro Rosso. But after just four races in 2016, they switched. Verstappen won his first race in the Russian’s car.

Daniil Kvyat’s Journey in Formula 1

Kvyat started his Formula 1 journey in 2013. He was announced as a 2014 driver with Toro Rosso. He had already completed two Friday practice sessions in 2013. In 2014, he began racing for Toro Rosso with teammate Jean-Eric Vergne. He replaced Daniel Ricciardo, who moved to Red Bull Racing.

In his first race, Kvyat scored two points. A new record for him. He became the youngest driver to score a point in Formula 1. He scored eight World Championship points in 2014. This was enough to replace Sebastian Vettel at Red Bull the following season.

In 2015, Kvyat finished seventh in the world championship with 95 points. He was allowed to start the 2016 season for Red Bull Racing. But it wasn’t smooth sailing. He only made it onto the podium at the Chinese Grand Prix. He had to contend with an emerging talent from the Netherlands.

Verstappen’s Start at Toro Rosso

On 13 August 2014, Verstappen was announced as a driver for Toro Rosso for the following season. He teamed up with Carlos Sainz. Verstappen made his Formula 1 debut in March 2015. He was ninth but suffered an engine problem.

Verstappen made a strong impression in his first Formula 1 season. He bagged three awards at the end of that season. Rookie of the year, FIA action of the year, and FIA personality of the year. Verstappen also started for Toro Rosso in Formula 1 in 2016. But things were about to change…

Kvyat’s Replacement by Verstappen

Kvyat was replaced in Red Bull Racing’s car after four races in the 2016 season. The decision was made after several incidents during the Russian Grand Prix. Kvyat hit Ferrari’s Vettel, which led to criticism. Verstappen replaced the Russian.

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner was pleased to welcome Verstappen. “Max has proved to be an excellent young talent. His performance at Toro Rosso has been impressive. We are pleased to offer him the opportunity at Red Bull,” Horner said in 2016. He added, “We are in a unique position that all four drivers at Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso have long-term contracts. We can move them between the two teams.”

Franz Tost worked with Kvyat after the switch. It wasn’t always easy. “Changing drivers in the middle of the season is always a problem,” Tost told Motorsport.com. “The driver is a motivator for the team. Losing Max during the season was not easy,” he revealed in 2016.

Post-Switch Performance of Kvyat and Verstappen

In his first race in the Red Bull car, Verstappen won the Spanish Grand Prix. He became the ‘youngest driver with a Formula 1 victory’. Verstappen’s victory lap is now famous. In 2021, 2022, and 2023, he became the Formula 1 world champion. He has over 50 victories.

Kvyat drove for Red Bull Racing’s sister team Toro Rosso in 2016, 2017, 2019, and 2020. The team became AlphaTauri in 2020. In his last two years, Kvyat was usually in the middle of the field. He scored 37 points in 2019 and 32 in 2020. He finished 13th in 2019 and 14th in 2020.

In an exclusive interview with GPblog, Kvyat said he is still open to Formula 1. He currently drives in the World Endurance Championship(WEC). “It’s something from the past, but if the opportunity arises, why not? You can’t turn it down,” Kvyat said.

Kvyat is the ex of Kelly Piquet, who is now with Verstappen. In July 2019, Kvyat and Piquet had a baby daughter, Penelope. They split not long after. In January 2020, Piquet and Verstappen started dating. They are in a relationship, and Penelope often appears in Verstappen’s sim streams.

Albert Ramirez
Albert Ramirez
Albert Ramirez is a senior writer at F1Highlights.com. With a passion for motorsports, Albert brings a unique perspective to the world of Formula One. With over five years of experience as a sports reporter, he has honed his skills in capturing the essence of the sport.

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