Today’s press conference in Sochi was mostly dedicated to Daniil Kvyat’s home Grand Prix. The home stages are usually very busy for drivers: a lot of sessions with local media, special projects and programs for home weekend, attending of many events and meetings with fans. However, Daniil said that the Russian Grand Prix isn’t too busy for him, just a bit busier than usual.
"It’s not too busy. It’s a back-to-back race with Singapore so pretty much arrived to Moscow for one day, got a little break, and then here on Wednesday. Had a bit of an event yesterday evening, you know, the usual stuff at the home grand prix and yeah, today just a bit busier than usual, but it’s always a pleasure for your home grand prix, so it’s OK."
Last weekend in Singapore was difficult for Daniil: The Russian had some issues with the car and hit Kimi Raikkonen during the race. So Daniil shared some memories of that disappointing Grand Prix.
"It was a specific grand prix. I mean I wouldn’t really say I struggled with the car. I skipped FP3, and then in quali, going straight into Q1, I just maybe didn’t put the best lap in because I didn’t have much reference and once you start from there it’s harder on a street circuit," – Daniil said.
"And then the race, yeah, it was a bit messy. Some moves… I was getting a bit stuck behind people when I had fresher tyres. This year it was usually good for me and then in Singapore maybe it wasn’t so good. My mirrors were foggy, so I couldn’t really fight with people properly. The race was just difficult to be honest. We had contact with Kimi, but by that point my race already wasn’t looking very good. But I was still in contention for maybe a point, but yeah, it was a difficult race. Sometimes they happen and sometimes they are necessary."
The big news came today to the Formula 1 paddock: there is an information, according to the Daily Mail, that the Formula 1 race will move from Sochi to St. Petersburg, and even Russian president Vladimir Putin backs this plan. Now there are only rumors, and this information isn’t officially confirmed. However, Bernie Ecclestone was planning to host Russian Grand Prix in Saint Petersburg, many years before Sochi.
So, whatever it was, Daniil Kvyat and two Finnish drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Valtteri Bottas didn’t see anything wrong with this idea.
"Yeah, I think as long as there is a racing in Russia I am up for it. Maybe it’s not a bad idea to have it closer to that region, also, where it’s more accessible to the people from Moscow, from St Petersburg, maybe it will bring more spectators which is cool, and maybe also from Europe, from Finland, let’s say, it’s a very popular sport there, it will be cool. Why not? It’s not a bad idea. Here is very nice but who knows if there it could be even better? Why not?" – Daniil shared his opinion.
Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen supported the possibility of increasing Finnish fans at the F1 Grand Prix, due to the fact that St. Petersburg is located quite close to Finland.
"Yeah, for sure, maybe we could have some more. Obviously, a Finnish Grand Prix would be nice as well but maybe more Finns would be there, possibly," – Valtteri said.
"We go where the race is. I would guess that there’s Finns, I guess there’s Finns watching here, I’m sure. It’s a lot easier, for sure," – Kimi agreed.
Last week at the Singapore Grand Prix Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel said that reverse grids isn’t a good idea for Formula 1. Today all five drivers supported Lewis and Seb, and spoke out against the idea of reverse grids.
"I think it would be a shame to see the current format disappear. It’s very exciting, the fans love it, especially today’s Formula One. A short, 25-lap race would be really boring to watch in my opinion. Today’s Formula One races depend on strategy which a 25 lap race wouldn’t really offer so I think it would just be a train from start to finish and that would take away some of the excitement from the sport," – Lance Stroll said about changes in current format of the sessions.
Daniil Kvyat said this is a bad attempt to solve the problem of big gaps between the leaders and midfield teams.
"It sounds just like a short fix to a bigger problem, which is just that we need to try and bring all the teams closer competition-wise. There’s still a big gap between the top three teams and the rest of the field and if we could have five or six teams competing for podium and a win I think it would be just a lot more exciting racing as well. Now, this year, there have been many exciting races of course but I still think that’s the main issue and if it’s a short term fix, these races, then so be it, we will have to do it of course but I think the bigger picture needs to be sorted, more than that."
Kevin Magnussen supported Kvyat’s opinion.
"Yeah, I agree. As Dany said, we need to try and fix the problem organically by making the competition closer and I also think qualifying is a fantastic event, so I think it’s a bad idea."
Valtteri Bottas also thinks that reverse grid is a bad idea for the championship, especially the driver wouldn’t like to lose a current format of Saturday qualifying.
"Not a big fan, myself, personally, about the reverse grid idea. I think it would be a real shame to lose proper qualifying. I think all the drivers really enjoy pushing the car to the limit for that one lap in qualifying. I find it really enjoyable so it would be a shame."