Formula 1 veteran Daniil Kvyat’s transition to NASCAR hasn’t quite had the outcome the Russian driver was hoping for after a mechanical breakdown forced him out of Sunday’s race at Indianapolis.
Kvyat’s NASCAR Cup Series debut at Indianapolis Motor Speedway was one of the most interesting subplots bubbling beneath the surface before the race as he became the latest in an ever-growing list of alumni. F1 drivers to try their hand at the sometimes chaotic world of stock car racing.
Kvyat, 28, was racing for the Hezeberg team after being officially unveiled as the team’s second driver a few days earlier, where he raced in car number 26 – the same number he has been associated with throughout of his tenure with Red Bull in Formula 1.
The Russian has followed in the footsteps of former F1 world champion Jacques Villeneuve in representing the team, but he is certainly hoping for a revival of his luck after his first race lasted just 43 laps.
His retirement came around 14 laps after he was forced to return to his team’s garage after complaining of battery and electrical issues.
Despite the disappointment, Kvyat will no doubt be somewhat pleased with his presence even in NASCAR – something that comes in a scenario where many Russian sports stars are having their rights to compete curtailed by various sports federations in light of the operation. Russian military in Ukraine.
Kvyat’s debut ends with him completing 43 laps (a suspension issue ended his day).
— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) July 31, 2022
“The situation is a little complicated as you can imagine, but I was happy to hear NASCAR show a great example of sportsmanship,” Kvatt recently noted.
“I think that’s how it should be. Sport should unite people and it’s amazing how they’ve shown that, and it’s a great example for everyone else in Europe too.
“I hope they take this and make it less complicated. So I hope it will be like that.
“I was really excited to get in the car here,” he added.
“When the car finally started today in free practice, I said to myself ‘yes, we are finally going to the track! We’re racing! It’s really cool’. And so yes, very, very excited.”
The FIA, which is Formula 1’s governing body, has allowed Russian drivers to race under a neutral flag – but Kvyat has been a notorious critic of the various penalties imposed on his compatriots in sport, saying they are “an unfair solution [which] goes against what sport teaches us in principle – unity and peace.”
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