Jolyon Palmer reckons it was "unbelievably harsh" of Red Bull to drop Daniil Kvyat on the back of a bad race in Russia.
Following on from his podium result in China, Kvyat headed to Russia determined to do well in front of his home crowd.
However, two mistakes on the opening lap, which put Sebastian Vettel into the barrier and his Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo into the pits for repairs, negated any good will Kvyat's Shanghai P3 had amassed.
Days after the Russian GP Red Bull announced that the 26-year-old would be returning to Toro Rosso with his Red Bull seat going to Max Verstappen.
It is a decision that Palmer reckons was "fairly brutally harsh."
Speaking to Sky Sports F1, he said: "I think it is unbelievably harsh on Kvyat.
"He was on the podium. He was aggressive in China. Vettel didn't like it but he did nothing wrong I think, and he got a podium for it which was Red Bull's first – and only – podium of the year so far.
"He was driver of the race.
"And yeah in Russia he made a mistake, maybe made two mistakes, but he didn't qualify far off his team-mate.
"And suddenly on the back of a bad race he is dropped.
"Personally I think it is fairly brutally harsh but maybe there is something else in Red Bull's mind and the head honcho that I know about."
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