Sochi: Local favourite Daniil Kvyat could not hide his delight on Saturday after producing the best qualifying performance of his Formula One career to claim fifth place on the grid for Sunday`s inaugural Russian Grand Prix.
The 20-year-old Toro Rosso rookie, who will move to Red Bull next season, drove with great confidence and elan to improve on his previous best of seventh at the Austrian Grand Prix in June.
"It feels great securing P5 (fifth place) in qualifying in my home country," said Kvyat.
"It was already looking quite promising yesterday so I`m very happy we could put it all together and achieve my best ever qualifying result.
"The car felt very good and everything worked out well. So well done to the team. I will do my best in tomorrow`s race and I will definitely aim to finish the race at least in fifth position."
The Russian`s team-mate Frenchman Jean-Eric Vergne also reached the shootout and finished 10th, one place ahead of four time champion German Sebastian Vettel in a Red Bull.
Kvyat was also delighted to have the prospect of racing in front of a capacity crowd at the new Sochi Autodrome on Sunday when Russian president Vladimir Putin will attend.
Putin will attend with Bahrain`s ruler Sheikh Hamad bin Eisa al-Khalifa, it was announced by the Kremlin, in a statement on Saturday.
Russians are expected to make up more than 90 per cent of the spectators at the circuit built within the Olympic Park used for the Winter Games in February.
Kvyat will be the main focus of interest for the Russian fans, but there will be many following the Anglo-Russian Marussia team`s fortunes as they compete again, one week after their French driver Jules Bianchi suffered life-threatening brain injuries at the Japanese Grand Prix.
Marussia has entered only one car, driven by Briton Max Chilton, who qualified 21st.
About 90 percent of the 46,000 tickets for the event have been sold, said Toto Darch, managing director of Russian ticket agency SportTours.
The event has been the subject of much controversy after the United States and many European nations imposed sanctions in the wake of Russia`s seizing of the Crimea and support for the rebels in eastern Ukraine this year.