Lewis Hamilton says young drivers in Formula 1 need to be given more time to develop and be allowed to make mistakes after questioning Red Bull's move to promote Max Verstappen at the expense of Daniil Kvyat.
The Mercedes driver was asked for his view on the Red Bull driver swap during the pre-Spanish Grand Prix drivers' press conference and despite his belief Red Bull deserves a huge amount of credit for its work bringing young drivers through its academy he isn't certain it is the right move for both Verstappen and Kvyat.
Hamilton has sympathy for Kvyat, who he feels has been harshly punished for a couple of errors – most notably collided with Sebastian Vettel twice in Sochi – and with the 22-year-old's relative inexperience mistakes should be forgiven as part of the learning process.
“I think it is a good opportunity for one and for the other unfortunate,” Hamilton said. “Red Bull has done well to bring through talent but I think they need to be aware the young drivers need time to progress.
"Mistakes do happen, there is so much pressure on us as drivers particularly at a young age especially when you've not done a lot of years in the lower classes and come in early. There is so much to learn and pressure on the shoulders.
“To take a driver out of a team where he is comfortable and into another one it is a difficult position to be in. Do I agree with it? It doesn't really matter but it is definitely something I would do.
“I think it is 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 and some take longer and need to make mistakes. I remember my first day in the car because I crashed. It was really difficult in those first races but the team can really help.”
Despite the driver swap Hamilton hopes both Verstappen and Kvyat are not given unrealistic pressures and expectations in their new roles which he fears has a detrimental impact on their burgeoning careers.
“I just hope that we've got two great young drivers and the move doesn't hinder either of their careers because they have bright futures ahead of them,” he said. “Too much pressure, too much stress, too much expectation too early can lead the wrong way.”