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MOSCOW, May 5. /TASS/. Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said on Thursday he hoped that country’s Formula One racer Daniil Kvyat would not give up and be able to regain his surrendered positions.
Executives of F1 team Red Bull, which Kvyat had been racing for since the beginning of this season, announced on Thursday that the Russian racer had been demoted to team Toro Roso following his crash at the Sochi Grand Prix on May 1.
"Kvyat was progressing throughout the previous season and has been progressing further since the beginning of this season," Mutko said. "I hope that Kvyat’s level of professionalism and popularity in this sport will help him find way out of this situation."
"I hope he would not sink into despair and will regain surrendered positions," Mutko added.
Starting with next Grand Prix in Spain Kvyat would be racing for team Toro Roso while 18-year-old Max Verstappen would take his place in Red Bull. The swap will remain in force for the rest of the season.
Commenting on Red Bull management’s decision to swap Kvyat with Verstappen, the Russian sports minister said "it was very harsh if it was only for a single mistake he [Kvyat] had made."
"[F1 racing] is one of the most professional sports with its own regulations and the sport is rough," Mutko said. "Unfortunately, a racer heavily depends on the car, team and the engine he is provided with. There are a lot of inside factors, both at the general and at the team levels."
After qualifying in 8th place for Russian Grand Prix in Sochi last weekend, Kvyat began the race hitting Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel twice in the back of his car during the opening lap, forcing the German racer to crash into the barrier. Kvyat’s teammate Daniel Ricciardo was also involved in the incident as he was hit by Vettel.
Kvyat eventually finished his home race 15th and Ricciardo was 11th under the chequered flag, leaving their Red Bull team with zero points at Sochi Grand Prix. Although Kvyat brought his apologies after the race, his team’s management expressed dissatisfaction with the performance of the Russian pilot in Sochi.
After the Russian Grand Prix, which was this season’s fourth race, Red Bull is in 3rd position of Constructor Standings, 19 points behind team Ferrari and only six points ahead of team Williams.
Kvyat, who won his second F1 career podium at Chinese Grand Prix on April 17, is currently in 8th position with 21 points, while his Red Bull replacement Verstappen is in 10th position with 13 points.