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Hamilton offers Kvyat sympathy, Vettel adds to intrigue

AFP logoAFP 13/05/2016 by Timothy Collings

Lewis Hamilton said, "Red Bull has done well in bringing young talent forwards, but they need to be aware young drivers need time to progress" © Provided by AFP Lewis Hamilton said, "Red Bull has done well in bringing young talent forwards, but they need to be aware young drivers need time to progress" Lewis Hamilton offered his sympathy to Daniil Kvyat on Thursday and pleaded for more understanding of the pressures heaped on young drivers in Formula One.

The defending three-time world champion spoke out during a news conference ahead of this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix where the Russian and Dutch teenager Max Verstappen have been forced to swap teams.

The ruthless Red Bull outfit demoted Kvyat after his incident-packed start to the season and promoted Verstappen from Toro Rosso to replace him.

"It's a good opportunity for one and for the other it's very unfortunate," said Hamilton of Mercedes.

"Red Bull has done well in bringing young talent forwards, 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."

Alongside him, two-time champion Fernando Alonso of McLaren agreed with his sentiments.

Fernando Alonso speaks ahead of the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix © Provided by AFP Fernando Alonso speaks ahead of the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix But Alonso added: "It's up to them. It's definitely a surprise… They have been doing a very good job promoting drivers and discovering new talents.

"It's the way they do it. They have been doing a good job in the past…"

Romain Grosjean of the new Haas team, a driver who has survived a period of intense criticism after a run of accidents, said the decision was tough on Kvyat.

"It's a very harsh decision," the Frenchman said.

Meanwhile Sebastian Vettel suggested Red Bull made their decision to dump Kvyat before his opening lap crashes at his home Russian Grand Prix.

Sebastian Vettel suggested Red Bull made their decision to dump Daniil Kvyat before his opening lap crashes at his home Russian Grand Prix © Provided by AFP Sebastian Vettel suggested Red Bull made their decision to dump Daniil Kvyat before his opening lap crashes at his home Russian Grand Prix In a surprise intervention into a story that dominated the paddock ahead of this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix, the four-time world champion told reporters that the Russian's demotion to the junior Toro Rosso team had nothing to do with events in Sochi where he twice rammed into Vettel.

"I don't think it has anything to do with what happened in Sochi," said Vettel.

"As I learned, it has been decided already beforehand. I don't know what the reasons are for the swap, but I don't think it's related to Russia or China."

Vettel said he had sympathy for Kvyat after events in Sochi where he was so livid, after his Ferrari was hit twice by the Russian, that he went to rant at Red Bull team chief Christian Horner on the pit wall during the race.

"I went to him and, obviously, it was clear what had happened," he said.

"I said 'at least have a word with him, it's racing, this happens, but…', and that's it," Vettel explained.

He added: "The last race is not the best example for Daniil but, unlike some of his colleagues, he had the balls to give me a call in the afternoon and to tell me what happened from his point of view.

"He realised he had done a mistake and that's the end of the story. There's nothing wrong with that.

"Of course, I was very upset and disappointed in the first place because it ruined my race, but these things happen. There is no guarantee that I won't have a misjudgement here on Sunday, in two weeks, in a year, or in five years if I'm still around."

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