Red Bull opted to fill their driver spot with another of their junior drivers in Kvyat, rather than looking externally, and the Russian went on to score two podiums with the team.
“I had an experienced team-mate and they were obviously comparing me to him, not in the points standings, but corner by corner in the data, old tyres, new tyres – that’s what they were looking at,” Kvyat explained to F1.com about the initial murmurings of a Red Bull seat.
“When Sebastian was leaving Red Bull, they had to have someone ready, and everything was going very fast at the time.
“At Suzuka, I came to the track in the morning and [Toro Rosso team boss] Franz Tost said, ‘Ah, so you’re driving for Red Bull next year’, and I was like, ‘What?’.
"He said, ‘Go and see Helmut [Marko]’, so I went there, saw [Red Bull team boss] Christian Horner and Helmut, they said, ‘Have a coffee with us’, and then they told me, ‘Hey, you’re driving for us next year’. I was like, ‘Wow’. It was an emotional day!”
Although his second season with the team ended in disaster as he was replaced by Verstappen after just four races, Kvyat did head back to Toro Rosso (now AlphaTauri, soon to be rebranded again) and made a successful F1 career for himself.
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