Three-time world champion Lewis Hamilton has warned that young drivers need time and support to find their footing in Formula One if they’re not to be damaged by the intense pressure of the sport.
Hamilton made his comments after being asked what he thought of the dramatic announcement that Daniil Kvyat was being dropped by Red Bull Racing and returned to his former team, the sister Toro Rosso squad in a swap with Max Verstappen.
“I think it is a good opportunity for one, and for the other unfortunate,” he 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.
“I just hope for Daniil, they’ve got two fantastic drivers here, that in this manoeuvre is doesn’t hinder either of their careers because they both have bright careers ahead of them.
“Too much pressure, too much stress, too much expectation early on can lead the wrong way,” he added. “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.
Although it might appear that Verstappen has got the better end of things with the driver swap, Hamilton hinted he wasn’t envious about the Dutch teenager’s new found situation.
“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’s definitely not something I would particularly do.”
While Kvyat and Verstappen both gained experience with the mid-ranking Toro Rosso team in their rookie seasons, Hamilton himself picked up a race seat at top-ranked McLaren for his maiden season, but admitted that wasn’t necessarily the right way in for everyone.
“I don’t think there’s a clear answer to that,” he said. “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 – probably a few more years than the two ahead of me (Kvyat and Verstappen) had.
“They’re going to grow in their own time, some take longer than others,” continued Hamilton. “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! It was really difficult those first processes. Of course the team can make a big difference in how they help. It’s just really important not to hold a young driver back.”
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