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Lewis Hamilton urges teams to give young Formula 1 drivers time to learn

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Lewis Hamilton urges teams to give young Formula 1 drivers time to learn
May 12, 2016, 7:00 PM

Lewis Hamilton reckons young Formula 1 drivers need to be given the chance to learn from mistakes they make, in response to Red Bull’s decision t...

Lewis Hamilton reckons young Formula 1 drivers need to be given the chance to learn from mistakes they make, in response to Red Bull’s decision to demote Daniil Kvyat in favour of Max Verstappen.

The surprising move followed Kvyat’s disastrous Russian Grand Prix, where he collided with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel twice in two corners. The first impact also knocked Kvyat’s Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo out of contention in Sochi and the second put Vettel into the barriers and out of the race at the third corner.

Speaking at the pre-race press conference at the Spanish Grand Prix, Hamilton, who made his F1 debut with McLaren in 2007 when he was 22, explained that it was inevitable for young drivers to make mistakes and described how it was important for teams to avoid putting too much pressure on them too soon.

Lewis Hamilton 2007

He said: “Ultimately it’s a good opportunity for one and for the other it’s very unfortunate. 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 as drivers, particularly at a young age. Especially when you have not done a lot of years in the lower classes [and] you’ve come in quite early.

“There is so much to learn [and it’s] a lot of pressure on their shoulders. To take a driver out of a role with a team where he is comfortable and move him to another one is a difficult position to be in.

“Do I agree with it? It doesn’t really matter, but it’s definitely not something that I would particularly do.

XPB.cc Daniil Kvyat Max Verstappen

When asked if it was better for young drivers to make their F1 debuts with smaller squads before moving up to bigger teams, Hamilton explained that felt he had been better prepared for his own F1 career by spending more time in the junior categories.

He said: “There is not a clear answer. For me it worked perfect to go into a big team but I did a lot more years in the lower categories than some of the others have.

“I 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 really quick at learning and some take longer. They need to make more and more mistakes.

“I remember my first days in the car and I crashed [on] the first day of driving. It was really difficult, those first processes, and of course the team can make a big difference in how they help.”

Lewis Hamilton Daniil Kvyat

The world champion, who is currently 43 points behind his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg in the drivers’ championship, expressed his hope that the Red Bull seat swap will not have a negative impact on either Kvyat or Verstappen.

“They’ve got two fantastic drivers here, I just hope that in this manoeuvre it doesn’t hinder either of their careers because they have got bright futures ahead of them.

“Too much pressure, too much stress, too much expectation too early on can lead the wrong way – that’s all I’m saying.”

Alonso: “Red Bull does a good job promoting drivers”

Fernando Alonso Lewis Hamilton

McLaren’s Fernando Alonso made his F1 debut with the Minardi team in 2001 and then spent a year as Renault’s test driver before being promoted to seat with the French manufacturer in 2003.

The Spaniard described Red Bull’s choice to swap its drivers around mid-season as a “surprise” but he praised the company’s policy of promoting young talent.

He said: “It’s up to them. It’s probably a surprise after race four but they have been doing a very good job promoting drivers and discovering new talents and giving opportunities. It is the way they do it and they have been doing a very good job in the past.”

What do you make of the Kvyat and Verstappen seat swap? Do you agree with Hamilton and Alonso’s comments? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below or head over to the JAonF1 Facebook page for more discussion.

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Series Formula 1
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