You never get a second chance to make a first impression, so the saying tells us; fortunately for Daniil Kvyat, he did get a second chance – and used it so well that he’ll be lining up on the grid for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in just under a month.
Red Bull are convinced they have something special in the 19-year-old Kvyat, who made a mess of his initial run in an F1 car when he beached the Toro Rosso in the gravel at Silverstone in last year’s Young Driver Test. But notoriously hard task-master Dr Helmut Marko had seen enough in the Russian to think he had more of an immediate F1 future than the man who had been earmarked as the likely replacement for Daniel Ricciardo, Portuguese driver Antonio Felix da Costa. The fact there’s the inaugural Russian Grand Prix coming up later this year probably didn’t hurt either …
To be fair to Kvyat, he certainly didn’t put a foot wrong later in 2013, winning the GP3 title and looking seriously quick when he participated in Friday practice in Austin and Sao Paulo. Watching his progress early on in the season will make for fascinating viewing given how Red Bull tend to expect so much from their young drivers once they’re parachuted into a Toro Rosso seat. For all of the success of Sebastian Vettel, the wreckage of the careers of the likes of Tonio Liuzzi, Jaime Alguersuari and second-most arrogant driver I’ve ever had the misfortune of interviewing , the ironically-named Scott Speed, offers plenty of evidence of what might happen to Kvyat if things don’t progress as planned.
In Episode 43 of ‘The Inside Line’, we look at Kvyat’s rapid rise, how someone from as unlikely an F1 destination as Ufa (look it up) can make it to the top flight, and why the Kvyat/Jean-Eric Vergne  intra-team fight could be a lot of fun this year based on the Russian’s ambition.
What else is on this week’s show? Plenty. A profile on Bernie Ecclestone’s tip for the world championship, Nico Rosberg, a look at whether Red Bull has solved its issues from the last test at Jerez in time for Bahrain this week, and why weight has become such an issue for drivers in modern-day F1 .
Episode 43 of ‘The Inside Line’ is set to premiere on Australian screens on SPEED TV Australia (Foxtel/Austar channel 512) at 7pm AEDT on Wednesday February 19. There’s a second helping (not if you’re an F1 driver, mind you) on ESPN (Foxtel/Austar channel 508 in Australia) at 9.30pm AEDT Thursday February 20.
 The most arrogant is still on this year’s grid, so that’ll be for a later blog. First clue: it’s not Lewis Hamilton. Ask me a question and I’ll tell you no lies …
 Three drivers most likely to not see out the 2014 season: Vergne, Esteban Gutierrez and the bloke who drove the recovery vehicle onto the track in last year’s Korean GP.
 A recent illustration of Daniel Ricciardo for which someone was mystifyingly paid to provide as a resource for newspapers covering the season was so inaccurate that the affable Aussie looked like he was 95kg. And that’s his assessment, not mine.