Motor racing-Kvyat ready to be surprise of the season

By Alan Baldwin

MILTON KEYNES, Jan 27 (Reuters) - Russian Formula One racer Daniil Kvyat can be as much of a revelation at Red Bull this season as Australian Daniel Ricciardo was last year, according to team boss Christian Horner.

Ricciardo took his first three grands prix wins in 2014, his first season at the then-champions after graduating from sister team Toro Rosso, and eclipsed team mate and four times champion Sebastian Vettel along the way.

Kvyat, 20, has also now moved up from Toro Rosso following Vettel's departure to Ferrari with Ricciardo becoming the man to beat.

"I think in Kvyat we've got a really fast, determined, intelligent driver," Horner told reporters at a Red Bull event on Tuesday.

"Sure, he's a little bit rough around the edges. He's only done 19 grands prix so far, but his commitment, speed and application are excellent.

"There will be the odd mistake here or there but that's natural with a young driver on the trajectory he's on. I really think he can be surprise of this year in the same way that Daniel was last year.

"He has all the right attributes to do some really fantastic things this year."

If Kvyat does emulate Ricciardo, he will become the first Russian to win a grand prix at a time when the sport is growing in popularity there with a race in the Black Sea resort of Sochi making its debut last year.

The Ufa-born youngster, who now lives in Switzerland after a spell in Rome, said he was not thinking about how that might feel and expected a 'healthy competition' with his new team mate.

"I will keep doing what I was doing in the past, more or less," he told reporters after showing off his ski skills at an event on an indoor slope near the Red Bull factory.

"It's not something that weighs on my mind. I think it's something that pushes me forward instead," he said of his chance to make history by winning. "It would be great, we'll see."

The season starts in Australia on March 15, with the first pre-season test starting at the Jerez track in southern Spain on Sunday. (Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Justin Palmer)