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Kvyat wins GP3 championship ahead of F1 debut in 2014

Nov 3, 2013, 9:00 AM EDT

F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi - Qualifying Getty Images

Russian driver Daniil Kvyat has won the 2013 GP3 championship in Abu Dhabi this weekend as he prepares to step up to Formula One next season with Scuderia Toro Rosso.

Kvyat’s appointment came as a surprise to many with fellow Red Bull junior drivers Antonio Felix da Costa and Carlos Sainz Jr. having more experience and appearing to be a safer option. However, Kvyat has enjoyed a sensational season in GP3, and he clinched the championship in Abu Dhabi on Saturday after winning the first race of the weekend whilst championship rival Facu Regalia could only finish sixteenth. As a result, Kvyat was crowned champion with one round remaining.

“It’s fantastic and I’m really happy for the team, they did an amazing job,” the Russian driver told the official GP3 website. “It’s been a great run since Barcelona. We just focused so much and we’ve been working so hard. I am unbelievably happy to be champion today.”

GP3 is the direct support series to GP2, which in turn feeds into Formula One. Esteban Gutierrez and Valtteri Bottas are both former champions whilst Alexander Rossi also competed in the championship, finishing fourth in 2010.

For the final race of the season, Kvyat started P8 as the top eight finishers on Saturday are reversed for the grid on Sunday. However, he produced another brilliant drive to finish in fifth place and finish the season thirty points clear of Regalia and over 100 points ahead of fellow Red Bull youngster Carlos Sainz Jr. In the race, American driver and 2013 Indy 500 runner Conor Daly managed to finish third, capping off a good weekend in Abu Dhabi for U.S. racers after Alexander Rossi’s maiden GP2 victory yesterday.

Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost confirmed Kvyat’s plans for the rest of the year in a press conference on Friday.

“We will have a test with him next week to get the super licence,” he explained. “Afterwards, he will go out on Friday in America and in Sao Paulo and of course we will have winter time, where he has to do a lot of work with physical training, mental training then working on the simulator to prepare him as good as possible for the next season.”

At the age of nineteen, Kvyat’s age could be cause for concern, but the management at Red Bull have cited his maturity and attitude as being the reason behind his appointment.

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