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Verstappen's exchanges with engineer Lambiase only half serious


Max Verstappen has played down speculation over his heated radio exchanges with his engineer Gianpiero Lambiase, saying that they are only half serious.

On Friday, during qualifying, the pair were involved in a tetchy exchange after the Dutchman almost failed to make the cut in Q2.

"We should have just f****** pushed two laps in a row like I said," he told Lambiase.

"But you are through, Max," replied London-born Italian, Lambiase.

"Yeah... I don't give a f***, mate, if I'm through in P10. It was just s*** execution," said the Dutchman.

"OK," sighed Lambiase, "and then when the track was two seconds quicker for your final lap and you didn't have any energy left, how would that have gone down? But you tell me what you want to do in Q3, and we'll do it. Let me know... sets, fuel, run plan."

Later, having secured pole by 0.820s, Verstappen's mood had lightened. "Oh, nice gap that! Well, at least we had a good Q3... sorry GP for sending such a... so long a rant," he said.

"I'm slowly getting used to it, Max," replied Lambiase. "That was eight tenths to Leclerc."

"Luckily we've got a few more years together, mate. So, it's all good." laughed the Dutchman.

"It happens, sometimes," he said. "Most of it is normally always blocked off. We can both be quite vocal or emotional, but we always solve it afterwards. So, it's all good."

However, further exchanges on Sunday left fans wondering if the relationship really is as good as Verstappen suggests.

As he closed in on teammate Sergio Perez, Lambiase urged him to: "Use your head".

"Are we both doing it or what?" asked Verstappen.

"You just follow my instruction", said Lambiase.

"I want to know if both cars do it", demanded the world champion.

"Max, please just follow my instruction, thank you," came the reply.

There was another exchange following Verstappen's final pit stop, Lambiase urging the Dutchman not to take too much out of his tyres. Naturally, the youngster ignored the warning, even though it cost him a very, scary moment at Eau Rouge.

Then, in the final stages of the race Lambiase warned: "This tyre had reasonable deg in the first stint, I'd advise you to use your head a bit more". To which Verstappen replied: "I could always push on and do another stop... a little bit of pit stop training."

"No, not this time," came the firm reply.

Asked at race end about the exchanges, and whether they were serious or banter, Verstappen said: "Probably 50/50 in the messages.

I know that the team doesn't like to do another stop, but I like to mention it so they might get a bit nervous.," he smiled. "I like the response of 'no, no, we are not doing that today'.

"It's fine," he insisted. "We know each other very well and we have a very good relationship.

"I find it always a really important part of your performance," he explained, "not only your race engineer but also everyone very close around you like your performance engineer and these kind of things.

"Over the years you build up much more of a relationship, you know each other better. So, for sure, if he were to be removed or whatever that would definitely not be ideal at all."

"GP and Max have been together since the first race Max stepped into the car," said Christian Horner. "Max is a very demanding customer, he's hungry for everything, and you've got to be a strong character to deal with that.

"GP's our Jason Statham equivalent, or certainly lookalike, and he does a very good job in managing Max during the course of a grand prix weekend or qualifying.

"He deals with him firmly but fairly, and there's mutual trust and respect between the two. That comes out of the mutual trust that you must have with an engineer.

"The only problem is, that conversation between the two of them, there are 200 million people listening, but there's a great bond and a great trust between the two of them.

"What you have to remember is the engineers, or the performance engineers, they're living and breathing all the data they have in front of them," he continued. "They know their driver's driving style, they know what they're taking out of the car, and so on.

"I know what he was doing," he said of Verstappen. He was trying to build a gap up for a pitstop, and GP said 'Look, I think he's taking it pretty easy. All the metrics are massively under control'.

"So it's having that trust and bond that's so important, which is what those two guys have. Sometimes it gets a bit sparky between the two of them, and Max is the kind of character that will rev very quickly, but it'll come down very quickly. GP doesn't forget so quickly."

Check out our Sunday gallery from Spa here.


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1. Posted by kenji, 01/08/2023 2:12

"Interesting comment....based on what?"

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by rambler, 31/07/2023 8:48

"Gianpiero Lambiase will be leaving Red Bull/Verstappen Racing Soon?"

Rating: Negative (-4)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

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