His vehicle was launched into the air and completed a 360 degree spin before it landed upright.
The 21-year-old confirmed from the cockpit that he was unharmed and, after heading for precautionary medical checks, Kvyat was quick to look ahead to Sunday’s race, which could see him start from the pit lane.
“I’ve never rolled a racing auto before and they say there’s a first time for everything”, said Kvyat. I am not as good as they are at building a vehicle but I will stay with them as long as I can tonight.
With the sport already in a sombre mood on the paddock’s return to Suzuka a year on from French driver Jules Bianchi’s ultimately fatal accident, another big crash made for a tense moment. “I put two wheels on the grass and there was no run off area so it was a quite logical end I think”.
Reflecting on the crash itself, Kvyat says he has never rolled a vehicle before, describing it as the biggest shunt of his career. His first lap was just 0.076 seconds slower than the German, but replays showed that he went wide at the hairpin causing him to lose time.
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo will start at seventh, with Lotus’ Romain Grosjean starting at eighth and Force India’s Sergio Perez at ninth. It is a silly accident but it is easy to do. “It happens sometimes. It was my mistake, my error”.
Nico Rosberg was in position to take advantage of the session’s early exit, having pipped Lewis Hamilton to the top of the timesheets.
But with little practice this weekend due to heavy rain on Friday, Mercedes AMG came out with immediate pace on Saturday morning and, seemingly effortlessly, converted it into a 1-2 start by virtue of lap times almost half a second faster than their closest competition.
However, Kvyat has suggested that the effect of his crash on his grid position was more important. He was midway through his final timed lap when the red flags brought an immediate halt to proceedings.