Daniil Kvyat caught the eye this weekend at his home Grand Prix with an impressive fifth-place qualifying result on Saturday for the Toro Rosso team.
Formula One's youngest point-scorer however, could not capitalise on the advanced grid position to take home any points at the inaugural Russian event. Nevertheless it was more evidence of the class which the driver does posses.
Sebastian Vettel's departure after six successful seasons with the Red Bull team, with Ferrari seemingly his next destination, has opened up the pathway for Kvyat's promotion through the system to take his place.
Fast-tracked to F1
The Russian has been supported by the Red Bull junior programme since 2010 and was somewhat of a surprise choice for the Toro Rosso drive this year ahead of Antonio Felix da Costa, who had seemed more prepared to take Daniel Ricciardo's vacated seat.
But Christian Horner and Dr Helmut Marko saw enough quality in Kvyat and trusted him with the drive, despite the fact he had not contested in either Renault 3.5 or GP- the standard feeder formulas of F1.
And Kvyat has repaid the faith shown in him by those in charge by conducting himself fantastically well in his debut season of Formula One racing. As mentioned, Kvyat has this season become the youngest points scorer in the history of the sport.
His qualifying performances have stood out and he is ahead of his more experienced teammate with an overall score of nine results to seven. There have been minor issues as with any new driver to Formula One, but he has not looked out of place in the paddock at all.
To think when the announcement was made, how controversial it seemed as many questioned his age and the role his nationality played in the decision. But a year later and Kvyat is preparing to find himself in one of the most competitive cars in the field with a genuine chance of podiums, race victories and whatever else he chooses to pursue.
What will be interesting to see is how he will cope with the challenge, pressure and expectation of being a Red Bull driver. Also how will he compare with one of the stars of 2014 in Ricciardo.?
Of course Ricciardo was in Kyvat's situation this year and has taken the season by the scruff of the neck, outperforming four-time world champion Vettel.
Kvyat V Ricciardo
For Kvyat to match or even better Ricciardo on the track it would be some surprise due to the level the Australian has shown this year, but no-one expected it of him either. At least not to this extent.
One advantage Ricciardo had on Vettel this year was the freedom experienced from the extra grip you receive in making a jump to a stronger car. And that balance will now tip in Kvyat's favour.
The former GP3 champion may too take the opportunity with two hands and display his ability to the maximum. It is clear Kvyat is very talented and he will soon be up to speed. It will not take long to notice how far exactly he can go and at just 20 it's an exciting prospect.
The forgotten man
As refreshing as Kvyat's campaign has been, it must be remembered that he still finds himself trailing his teammate Jean-Eric Vergne by 13 points in the drivers' standings. This shows he is far from the finished article. Vergne is somewhat the forgotten man of the Red Bull system. He has never put a foot wrong but is continually overlooked when it comes to promotion from the sister team.
He is still only 24 and has a lot more to give the sport. But it seems he may be replaced by younger alternatives Carlos Sainz Jr or even British GP3 driver Alex Lynn. This again suggests that the Red Bull management making decisions have seen further potential in Kvyat and are looking at the long-term for a future world champion.
For 2015, much will depend on the quality of the car supplied. But either way, Red Bull have themselves a truly intriguing and dynamic driver line-up with these young men who will both be looking to fill the shoes of Vettel, the man who has lead the Milton Keynes-based outfit to so much glory.
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