Lewis Hamilton has aimed a thinly-veiled jibe at Red Bull over its treatment of drivers following Nyck de Vries' axing.
The Dutchman was dropped after only 10 races with AlphaTauri following a difficult start to the season in which he had come in for criticism as he struggled to match teammate Yuki Tsunoda.
Hamilton worked with De Vries when he served as Mercedes' reserve driver across the past two seasons and told media including RacingNews365: "I was definitely surprised to see the decision made to [sack] poor Nyck.
"He's such a talented young man and such a nice guy as well, so I think the future's still bright for him with lots of great options."
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"That's how Red Bull works"
Red Bull and AlphaTauri have a history of dropping drivers in the middle of a season if they are deemed not to be performing at the required level.
Pierre Gasly lasted only half a season with the main team in 2019 before being replaced by Alex Albon, who in turn lasted only 18 months.
Drivers have come and gone in high numbers over the past decade and noting de Vries' fate is typical of how the Milton Keynes-based outfit wields its axe, Hamilton quipped: "That's how Red Bull works."