Kvyat plays his own 'Game of Thrones'

Reuters News
Posted: May 12, 2016 12:16 PM

By Alan Baldwin

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Daniil Kvyat revealed on Thursday that Red Bull rang to tell him he had lost his seat at the Formula One team just as he was settling down to watch an episode of 'Game of Thrones'.

The irony of the violent fantasy world, full of deceit and dynastic struggle, being a backdrop to his ousting in favor of younger rival Max Verstappen was not lost on reporters even if the Russian driver offered few smiles.

Sitting next to the 18-year-old Dutchman at a Spanish Grand Prix news conference where the stiff body language spoke for itself, Kvyat said the decision to send him back to junior team Toro Rosso and promote Verstappen had been a shock.

"We had 20 minutes of talking and I wanted to have an explanation," he said of his telephone conversation with Red Bull motorsport consultant Helmut Marko.

Kvyat had been in Moscow, enjoying some free time after a nightmare home grand prix in Sochi.

"I got to know many interesting details but I’ll keep it to myself for now. We finished the call and I went back to finish my TV series," he said.

Red Bull announced last week that Verstappen, the rising star of the sport, was moving up from Toro Rosso to replace 22-year-old Kvyat for the remaining 17 races of the season.

The decision was seen as harsh, even if it came after the Russian had twice collided in Sochi with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel. Kvyat had been on the podium in the preceding race in China.

The switch was also interpreted as a move by Red Bull to secure Verstappen for the long term in the face of rising interest from rivals.

Red Bull principal Christian Horner said the move would allow Kvyat to "regain his form and show his potential" in a familiar team but the Russian said he had been given "no real explanation."

"If the bosses want something to happen, they just make it happen. It's as simple as that," declared Kvyat.

He said 'dropped' was too heavy a word for what had happened, saw no reason for it and said he had been feeling no more pressure than usual.

"I will try to give as loud an answer as possible on the track," Kvyat said of his response.

"I am now extremely hungry...there are a lot more positive moments now than anyone can imagine and I take it as a golden opportunity with Toro Rosso."

(Editing by Tony Jimenez)