Toro Rosso may not have set the timesheets alight on the opening day of the 2013 USGP in Austin, but Friday morning practice was notable for the debut of 2014 driver Daniil Kvyat.
The Russian, who was named as a somewhat surprising replacement for the Red Bull-bound Daniel Ricciardo last month, made his first official appearance alongside the Australian, having gained the necessary superlicence during a private test at Mugello in the build-up to the US event.
Although his maiden outing was cut-short by fog, which delayed the start of the morning session, and the need to summon a replacement medical helicopter, which brought out a red flag after only a few minutes of running. Kvyat was able to complete 20 laps, ending up 17th overall, but only a couple of tenths off his more experienced team-mate.
“I enjoyed every single moment of driving the track, even though there was a delay because of the fog and then a red flag,” the teenager commented, “We didn't do the full programme of course, because the session was shortened, but we still did 20 laps, which is important mileage for me.
“It was good to go out there to try and find the limit of the car and the brakes, and we also managed to do some aero measurements. Of course, I've finished driving here but, for the rest of the weekend, I will be attending all the engineers' briefings, which again will be a very valuable experience.”
STR's Laurent Mekies confirmed that Kvyat's outing had been useful, despite the cut in track time, and praised the Russian for his feedback.
“It was the first time for Daniil in the car with us and, unfortunately for him, the session got shortened,” Mekies acknowledged, “But still the track was in a much better condition in FP1 than last year so this allowed him to get reasonable running. At the end of the session he got 2 runs in the car and he did a good job with no mistakes and gave some interesting feedback to the engineers. It was a good first try – so well done to him.”
While Kvyat dropped to 19th on the combined standings as conditions improved for his rivals after lunch, Ricciardo moved up to 14th, despite not being entirely happy with what he was getting from his STR8.