BARCELONA • Lewis Hamilton offered his sympathy to Daniil Kvyat on Thursday and pleaded for greater understanding of the pressures heaped on young drivers in Formula One.
The three-time world champion spoke out during a news conference ahead of this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix, where the Russian will drive for Toro Rosso after being replaced at the senior Red Bull team by promising Dutch teenager Max Verstappen.
The ruthless Red Bull management demoted Kvyat after his incident-packed start to the season.
"It's a good opportunity for one and, for the other, it's very unfortunate," said Hamilton.
"Red Bull have done well in bringing young talent forward, but they need to be aware young drivers need time to progress. Mistakes do happen.
"There is so much pressure on us, particularly at a young age, there is so much to learn and a lot of pressure on our shoulders.
"To take a driver out of a team, where he is comfortable, and move into another one, it's a difficult position to be in...
"Do I agree with it? It doesn't really matter, but it's definitely not something I would particularly want to do."
Meanwhile, speaking for the first time since his demotion, Kvyat said: "There was no real explanation, to be honest. If the bosses want something to happen, they just make it happen."
He revealed he was given the news in a phone conversation with Red Bull consultant Helmut Marko.
"The decision was a bit of a shock. I was standing on the podium three weeks ago," the 22-year-old said.
"But it is what it is. I have always given my answers on the track and I think nothing will change.
"There are 17 races remaining. I am coming back to Toro Rosso, the team I raced for in 2014, the team I really like a lot, the team that I have felt in the past few days has given me a very warm welcome, which I'm grateful for.
Christian Horner, the Red Bull team principal, said of the switch: "Daniil has been struggling for form against his team-mate.
"The race in Russia (in which Kvyat crashed into Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel) was a catalyst but a lot more consideration went into it than one Sunday afternoon."
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE GUARDIAN
SPANISH GRAND PRIX
Practice 3 (4.55pm), Qualifying (7.30pm) - Singtel TV Ch115 & StarHub Ch209.