HOCKENHEIM, Germany, (Reuters) - Toro Rosso found themselves on a Formula One podium for the first time in 11 years on Sunday, as Daniil Kvyat took advantage of a dramatic, rain-hit German Grand Prix to finish third.
The Russian started 14th on the grid, the same starting spot Lewis Hamilton won from last year.
While falling short of Briton Hamilton’s 2018 effort, the result was no less satisfying for the 25-year-old.
“It was an amazing race,” Kvyat, who became a father to a baby girl overnight, said.
“All a bit surreal at the moment, all a bit unreal for me.
“I need a bit of time.”
Kvyat’s finish was the Red Bull feeder team’s second podium. A young Sebastian Vettel won the 2008 Italian Grand Prix for Toro Rosso in pouring rain.
Vettel, now with Ferrari, finished second on Sunday in Germany behind Max Verstappen.
There was a touch of irony in Kvyat’s triumph, with the Russian demoted by Red Bull and sent back to Toro Rosso in 2016 to make way for Verstappen.
Kvyat was dropped last year, joining Ferrari as a simulator driver, only to make his return this season after Red Bull called on him to fill a vacancy at Toro Rosso.
“I know there’s a bit of history,” said Kvyat, who now has three podiums.
“I was ready, more ready now than ever to fight for this kind of position.
“I think this year I am more mature, my head is cooler and I am more ready to fight on top and today I proved it to myself and everyone around.”
While Kvyat was in the spotlight, team mate Alexander Albon made it two Toro Rossos in the points with a solid sixth-placed finish.
The Thai rookie, racing a Formula One car in the wet for the first time, survived contact with Red Bull’s Pierre Gasly and even raced wheel to wheel with championship leader Hamilton for a time.
“Happy but slightly miffed,” said Albon, who felt a better finish was on the cards.
“It’s frustrating because we were running fourth or fifth the whole race, I think, and we were there genuinely on pace.
“We deserved to be there.”
Editing by Ian Ransom