Daniil Kvyat admitted that Force India's decision to pit Nico Hulkenberg earlier than expected compromised his own bid for a top six finish in the Brazilian Grand Prix.
The Russian had passed Hulkenberg off the line, albeit retaining the sixth spot he started from as Valtteri Bottas passed both men into turn one, and was attempting to open a gap to the Force India when the strategy tables were turned. Hulkenberg pitted several laps ahead of the expected schedule and, with Red Bull leaving Kvyat on track, the German was able to get ahead as the stops unfolded.
“We were boxed between Williams and Force India and were building a gap with the Force India behind us,” Kvyat explained, “They boxed and we were tying to build a gap to Williams, but unfortunately, we got undercut by the Force India after the pit-stop, which compromised our race quite badly. The undercut here is quite powerful and we just didn't pit at quite the right time.”
Unable to find a way past Hulkenberg over the remaining two-thirds of the race, Kvyat had to settle for seventh on the road, which he admitted was still a decent result with only one retirement amongst the 20-car field.
“It was a shame, but six points are better than nothing and we can still say, plus or minus a couple of points, we've done the maximum we could,” he said, “It wasn't an easy race as I was following all the time. It was quite hard to pass, to find a place to overtake, and overtaking the Force India would have been a bonus.”
Scoring for the third time in four races also allowed Kvyat to extend his advantage over Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo in the overall standings, taking his lead to ten points with just one round remaining.
“Obviously, I didn't have a penalty, which didn't compromise our weekend so badly,” he acknowledged, referring to the back-of-the-grid start Ricciardo incurred for fitting the latest-sped Renault engine, “Every weekend, we have more confidence in the group on our side of the garage and now we're having very controlled qualifying and very controlled races. What we're missing is the horsepower – if we had it, it would be awesome!”