Kvyat dumped by Red Bull during 'Game Of Thrones'

3 min
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Barcelona (AFP)

Daniil Kvyat claimed on Thursday that he had no idea why he was demoted from Red Bull to Toro Rosso despite a 20-minute phone call to Moscow as he watched Game of Thrones on television.

The young Russian, who was replaced by rising Dutch star Max Verstappen, spoke out during a feisty news conference at the Circuit de Catalunya.

"I had no real explanation," he shrugged.

"If the bosses – at Red Bull – want something to happen, they make it happen. It's as simple as that…"

Sitting between his new team-mate Carlos Sainz, on his right, and Verstappen, to his left, the 22-year-old Russian may have felt uneasy as he was bombarded with questions.

But he hardly showed it with a defiant series of confident answers in good English, demonstrating a clear grasp of the diplomatic niceties at stake, not to mention his career prospects.

It was widely understood that he had been punished by Red Bull for crashing twice into former Red Bull champion Sebastian Vettel, now of Ferrari, at the Russian Grand Prix.

"I was in Moscow, laying on the sofa and watching a TV series," he explained. "Then, a phone call came and they said 'hello, I have some news for you'…

"We had 20 minutes of talking and I wanted to have an explanation -- I got to know many interesting details, but I will keep it for myself for now…"

Kvyat confirmed that the call to Moscow was made by Red Bull's motorsport boss Helmut Marko.

"It was Dr. Marko who made the phone call," he said.

"We finished the call and I went back to finish my TV series. That is all."

Asked to identify the series, he said it was "Game of Thrones" - the hit US fantasy epic known for its blood and guts and intrigue - - and the room exploded with laughter.

Asked if he accepted Dr Marko's suggestion that he had struggled with the pressure of being team-mate to Australian Daniel Ricciardo, Kvyat said he had not felt any special pressure.

"Pressure? Talking about pressure, I have been seven years part of the Red Bull family and I don't see it as a big problem… Other people around me had pressure – I don't think it is a big explanation to be honest."

He was quick to heap praise on the warmth of the Toro Rosso team's welcome to him. He raced for them in 2015.

"I think obviously the decision and the way it happened was a bit of a shock – also for myself," he said. "But it is what it is at the moment.

"I always think to give my answer on the track and that will not change. I like this team (Toro Rosso) a lot. I got a very warm welcome.

"I can feel the atmosphere is very positive in the team and the goals are clear, for the team and for myself.

"I will be pushing to the absolute limits on the track and will be giving my answers there... I have another golden opportunity."