Daniil Kvyat was born in Ufa, Bashkortostan, Russia to Vyacheslav and Zulfiya Kvyat. Vyacheslav Kvyat worked for Bashneft, initially as a mechanic at the Novo-Ufa refinery, but rose through the ranks to become the financial director of the export division until 1996. Later he branched out and worked with other energy companies, ending up as CFO of West Siberian Energy. At the same time he stood for election as a Deputy in the Bashkortostan state parliament.
Kvyat was an active kart racer in Russia and Italy. In 2009, he finished third in the KF3 European Championship category and finished as runner-up in the WSK International Series.
Kvyat started his formula racing career during the 2010 Formula BMW Pacific season with EuroInternational at the Sepang International Circuit. In his first race he started from sixth place, but finished only nineteenth. He finished fifth in the second race. During the season, he joined the Red Bull Junior Team and made his debut in Formula BMW Europe with the same team. He finished in tenth position in the final championship standings, with a second-place finish at Monza.
Kvyat contested New Zealand's Toyota Racing Series in January and February 2011 with Victory Motor Racing, finishing fifth in the championship with a win in the Dan Higgins Trophy at Manfeild and another five podiums.
After two races with Koiranen Bros. Motorsport in 2010, in the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 finale at Barcelona and a fourth-place finish in the Formula Renault UK Winter Series, Kvyat, and his Formula BMW and Red Bull Junior teammate Carlos Sainz Jr., joined Koiranen for full 2011 seasons in both the Eurocup and the Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup. He finished as runner-up behind Sainz, Jr. in the Northern European Cup standings with seven wins, including a hat-trick of wins at Monza. In the Eurocup he was outpaced by former Formula BMW rival Robin Frijns and Sainz, scoring two wins at Spa and the Nürburgring.
For 2012, Kvyat remained in the Formula Renault category, competing in both Formula Renault 2.0 Alps and the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 series. His debut in the Alps championship was marked with a dominating double win at Monza. In May he returned to the Eurocup, and recorded a double win in the opening round of the season at Motorland Aragón. He ultimately clinched the Alps title and finished as runner-up in the Eurocup, following a dramatic season finale at Catalunya. He was leading the race in heavy rain, but his tyres lost all grip during the final laps, and he missed the title by 10 points. Kvyat remained with the Red Bull Junior Team and progressed to the GP3 Series for 2013.
Kvyat spent 2013 competing in the GP3 Series with MW Arden and the European Formula 3 championship with Carlin Motorsport. Kvyat was a late registration for the latter series, and so he was ineligible for points. He scored five pole positions, seven podiums and a dominant win at Zandvoort. His first win saw an unusual mistake on the part of event organisers: there was no record of National Anthem of Russia present at Zandvoort, and "The Patriotic Song" by Mikhail Glinka was played instead to celebrate Kvyat's win.
His progress in GP3 was rapid as well. Kvyat started the season poorly but immediately recovered, scoring his first podium in his fifth feature race. Following two wins in next two feature races, he went into the Abu Dhabi event being a title contender and finally won the championship in his debut year. His performance in two final feature races at Monza and Abu Dhabi was notable: Kvyat scored a pole, a win, led every lap and recorded the fastest lap, gaining the maximum points available at both races.
In October 2013, Kvyat was announced as the second driver of the Scuderia Toro Rosso (STR) Formula One team for the 2014 season, alongside Frenchman Jean-Éric Vergne. He replaced Daniel Ricciardo, who moved to parent team Red Bull Racing. As a test driver for STR, he took part in Friday practice for the final two Grands Prix of the 2013 season, in the United States and Brazil. Kvyat made his F1 debut—aged 19—in the 2014 Australian Grand Prix, where he finished 9th, breaking Sebastian Vettel's record as the youngest points-scorer in Formula One. He went on to score points in the Malaysian, Chinese, British and Belgian Grands Prix, finishing 15th in the World Championship. In September the organisers of the inaugural Russian Grand Prix announced their intention of naming a stand in the Sochi Autodrom after him.
In October 2014 it was announced that Kvyat would be promoted to Red Bull for the 2015 season, to replace the quadruple world champion Sebastian Vettel.
Kvyat raced for Red Bull for the 2015 season, alongside Daniel Ricciardo, after being promoted following the departure of four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel to Ferrari. He took his first podium in the sport with a second-place finish at the 2015 Hungarian Grand Prix, the highest finish for a Russian driver in Formula One. As a result, Kvyat – aged 21 years, 91 days – became the second-youngest driver to record a podium finish, after Vettel. In qualifying for the 2015 Japanese Grand Prix, Kvyat crashed heavily into the barriers, ultimately flipping the car. He was uninjured, and finished 13th in the race the following day. Kvyat ended the 2015 season with 95 points and 7th place in Drivers' World Championship beating his race winning team-mate Daniel Ricciardo by 3 points.
On 5 May 2016, Red Bull announced that Toro Rosso driver Max Verstappen would be replacing Kvyat beginning from the Spanish Grand Prix, with Kvyat returning to Toro Rosso alongside Carlos Sainz Jr. According to Red Bull's team principal Christian Horner, "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." It was announced ahead of the United States Grand Prix that Kvyat had been re-signed to Toro Rosso for 2017 after much intense speculation.
Daniil Kvyat lived in Ufa, Russia until the age of six when his family moved to Moscow. This is where he first raced go-karts before first moving to Western Europe and racing competitively. Kvyat currently lives in Monaco. In addition to his native Russian, he is also fluent in Italian, Spanish, English and has some ability in speaking Finnish.
Rules introduced for the 2014 Formula One season allowed the drivers to pick their own racing numbers that they will carry with them for the rest of their careers. When asked about which number he wanted, Kvyat revealed that 26 was the number he had chosen as he had no previous connection to it, and that he wanted to make it successful.
Kvyat's hobbies include table tennis, football, wakeboarding and skiing. He also likes heavy metal music, and has cited Metallica's "Whiskey in the Jar" cover and Motörhead's "Ace of Spades" as his two favourite songs.
Until November 2015, Kvyat was one of the few drivers in motor racing to have an FIA Super Licence, but not a regular driving licence in his native Russia.
† As Kvyat was a guest driver, he was ineligible for points.
* Season still in progress.
(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicate fastest lap)
‡ − As Kvyat was a guest driver, he was ineligible to score championship points.
(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicates fastest lap)
* Season still in progress.
† Did not finish, but was classified as he had completed more than 90% of the race distance.