Reigning Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton said Pierre Gasly's Italian Grand Prix victory proves the French driver deserves a second chance with the Red Bull team.
Hamilton's mid-race penalty blew the Monza race wide open and Gasly was the man to capitalise, passing Lance Stroll at the restart which followed the red-flag race suspension. Last August an out-of-form Gasly was demoted from Red Bull to Toro Rosso, now known as Alpha Tauri, but has been one of the standout performers of the 2020 season.
Hamilton, who plays Call of Duty with Gasly away from the race track, believes Red Bull made the wrong decision.
"Huge congratulations to him," he said. "Honestly, I've gotten a bit of time to spend with Pierre. We game a lot online every now and then.
"Just seeing his growth... When he was at Red Bull he was dropped, I think unfairly, he wasn't given the time to develop. He's now gone to the B-team and now he's beat the A-team from the B-team. That puts a big smile on my face because I think he truly deserves it. He deserves a place back in the top team.
"I think it's a great result for that team also. It's a young top three. Not the best of days for me but I still enjoyed it."
Hamilton praised Gasly again in his post-race Zoom call with journalists.
"Firstly, Pierre is just a really nice guy. I think he has a lot of talent.
"I don't think he was necessarily treated fairly at Red Bull when he got demoted. It's not easy for a driver when it happens, so I empathise with that.
"To then build the confidence up in a not necessarily as quick a team, to build the confidence up, and to come on out with some really great performances he's had this year already with that car, then get the win... it's not easy to do that.
"Really impressed, I think he's done a fantastic job and deserves the success and I hope it creates an opportunity for him going forward.
"There's also... he beat the team that demoted him, so that's definitely got to hurt for them."
Red Bull's Max Verstappen failed to finish after a mid-race car issue. Alex Albon, the man who replaced Gasly last year, finished a lowly 15th. Red Bull is yet to confirm whether Albon will remain with the senior team in 2020 -- its drivers are on contracts which make it easy to swap them between the company's two teams.