Verstappen replaces Kvyat at Red Bull

Red Bull made the decision following Kvyat's calamitous weekend at the Russian Grand Prix, when he crashed into Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel twice within two corners.

Max Verstappen became the youngest driver in the history of F1 at the age of 17 last year.   -  REUTERS

Max Verstappen will race the Spanish Grand Prix for Red Bull after the four-time world champion dropped Daniil Kvyat to sister team Toro Rosso.

Kvyat drew the ire of team bosses after he shunted former Red Bull star Sebastian Vettel twice in the opening three corners of his home Russian Grand Prix last weekend, also costing his team-mate Daniel Ricciardo time as he was caught in the melee.

>READ: Kvyat could not handle the pressure

Vettel was forced to retire on the opening lap and delivered an expletive-laden rant to his Ferrari engineers, just two weeks after he had admonished Kvyat following the Chinese Grand Prix for another risky first-lap overtake, which led to more contact with the German.

Verstappen has long been seen as a future star of Formula One and broke a string of records last year as he competed his debut season at the tender age of 17. F1's youngest driver in history, Verstappen finished 12th in the drivers' standings last season, with just 43 fewer points than new team-mate Ricciardo's 92.

Red Bull's signing of Verstappen in 2014 was seen as an enormous coup, while his promotion to the team's leading car may be viewed as an attempt to prevent potential suitors from signing the Dutch sensation, with Mercedes and Ferrari credited with an interest.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner was quick to praise Verstappen, but also moved to play down any suggestion that Kvyat had been punished for an error-strewn start to 2016.

"Max has proven to be an outstanding young talent," he said in a statement. "His performance at Toro Rosso has been impressive so far and we are pleased to give him the opportunity to drive for Red Bull Racing."

"We are in the unique position to have all four drivers across Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso under long term contracts with Red Bull, so we have the flexibility to move them between the two teams.

"Dany will be able to continue his development at Toro Rosso, in a team that he is familiar with, giving him the chance to regain his form and show his potential."

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