Kvyat: Losing Red Bull drive to Verstappen was 'stab in the back'

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Ex-F1 driver Daniil Kvyat says his demotion from Red Bull back to Toro Rosso in 2016 felt like a betrayal by his employer and a "stab in the back".

Kvyat was pulled out of Red Bull Racing after just three races and replaced on the eve of the Spanish Grand Prix by the mercurial Max Verstappen.

It was a shrewd move by the bulls however as the Dutchman conquered in Barcelona his maiden win in Formula 1.

But for Kvyat, the demotion was a painful let-down by his Red Bull, as he explained recently on the Track Limits podcast.

"I felt really betrayed at that moment. It was a stab in the back and that’s life, you get stabbed in the back sometimes you know, it’s normal," said the 28-year-old Russian.

"Now it’s the past. I have another good career in racing so part of me of course is very thankful to Red Bull. The other part of me is still very unhappy with it."

To make matters worse, Kvyat claims that at the time of his demotion from Red Bull to Toro Rosso, he was approached by Ferrari with an offer to replace Kimi Raikkonen, an overture he subsequently rejected having entrusted his future to Red Bull.

"I was performing really well," he said. "And I just scored another podium for the team [at the 2016 Chinese Grand Prix] and then at the time I had also a proposal to race for Ferrari to replace Kimi. That was going on behind the curtain.

"So it was a very difficult situation also for me mentally to go back from being wanted by Ferrari and having seen the contract and then you go back to Toro Rosso suddenly and then you’re like, it’s not going very well suddenly."

After concluding his 2016 campaign with Toro Rosso, Kvyat remained with the Faenza-based squad the following year. But he then spent a year on the sidelines in 2018 before returning to the grid in 2019 and completing another two seasons with Toro Rosso/AlphaTauri.

His best result came at the 2019 German Grand Prix at Hockenhein where he finished P3.

Kvyat currently competes in the WEC in the LMP2 category with Prema Racing. Next week, the Russian who now races under an Italian licence will take part in Formula E's in-season test in Berlin with the NIO 333 squad.

In 2024, Kvyat will join Lamborghini for its works effort in the WEC.

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