Hamilton questions rationale behind driver swap

Lewis Hamilton has questioned Red Bull’s decision to demote Daniil Kvyat to Toro Rosso after just four races.

Kvyat will be replaced by Max Verstappen, who will make his debut with the senior, championship-winning Red Bull team this weekend in Spain. Hamilton thinks young drivers need time to make mistakes, especially when they have been rushed through the junior categories like Kvyat and Verstappen.

“I think ultimately it’s obviously a good opportunity for one but for the other it’s very unfortunate,” the world champions said. “Red Bull has done well in bringing young talent forwards but I think they need to be aware that the young drivers need time to progress. Mistakes do happen, there is so much pressure on us drivers, particularly at a young age, especially when you haven’t done a lot of years in the lower classes and you’ve come quite early in there’s so much to learn.

“There’s a lot of pressure on their shoulders I think to take a driver out of a role in a team where he is comfortable and move him to another one it’s a difficult position to be in. So do I agree with it? It doesn’t really matter, but it’s definitely not something I would particularly do.”

Hamilton made his debut with McLaren at 22 years of age and immediately challenged for the championship, but says he had much more time to learn in the junior categories.

“For me it worked perfectly going to a big team but I did a lot more years in the lower categories than some of the others have, probably a few more years than these two have. I just mean that it’s really important to not hold a young driver back, they are going to grow in their own time and some take longer than others, some are real quick at learning and some take longer, they need to make more mistakes.

“I remember my first days in the car and I crashed my first day of driving and it was really difficult during those first processes. Of course the team can make a big difference in how they help but I really do just hope for Daniil. You’ve got two fantastic drivers here, I just hope that this move doesn’t hinder either of their careers because they have got bright futures ahead of them and too much pressure, too much stress, too much expectation too early on can lead the wrong way.”