Max Verstappen romped to his eighth consecutive victory and 10th of the season to maintain Red Bull’s total grip on Formula 1 after 12 of 22 races. But in the midst of the Belgian Grand Prix weekend, Max Verstappen and his race engineer, Gianpiero Lambiase, engaged in some testy exchanges, raising concerns among fans.
Red Bull team principal, Christian Horner, couldn’t contain his admiration for the team’s incredible performance this season following Max Verstappen’s dominant victory at the Belgian Grand Prix on Sunday. Verstappen secured his eighth consecutive win and 10th victory of the season, solidifying Red Bull’s undeniable hold on the Formula One championship after 12 out of 22 races.
Horner praise for Verstappen
When asked about the possibility of an unbeaten season, Horner remained cautious, refusing to project too far ahead. Instead, he expressed the team’s focus on maintaining the astonishing momentum they have achieved so far. With the season heading into the mid-year break, Horner and the Red Bull team are determined to return even stronger and continue their stellar performance in the second half of the season.
Horner said: “I’m not going to project that far ahead. We’ll come back after the break and try to keep this amazing momentum going.”
Formula One will now go on a well-deserved three-week break before returning at the end of August for the much-anticipated Dutch Grand Prix.
Verstappen, who secured his 45th career victory, will aim to match the remarkable record set by former Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel in 2013, with nine consecutive wins.
Huge tension in Spa between Verstappen & race engineer
During the Belgian Grand Prix weekend, Max Verstappen and his race engineer, Gianpiero Lambiase, were involved in some tense exchanges that caught the attention of fans and pundits. However, Verstappen has now clarified that such interactions are nothing out of the ordinary and are a regular aspect of their working relationship.
As Verstappen chased an eighth consecutive grand prix win at Spa, there were moments of tension between him and Lambiase during Friday evening’s qualifying session. Helmut Marko, a key figure at Red Bull, likened the exchanges to an “old married couple” having an argument, indicating that such interactions were not uncommon for the duo.
Race day radio exchanges
On race day, Verstappen’s exchanges with his race engineer continued as he sought to challenge his teammate, Sergio Perez, for the lead. At one point, Lambiase instructed Verstappen to “use your head,” to which the Dutch driver replied with a question about following instructions.
Verstappen hit back with an “…are we both doing it or what” with his race engineer insisting: “You just follow my instruction.”
Later in the race, with GP unhappy with Verstappen’s tyre management, there was more back and forth.
Lambiase: “This tyre had reasonable deg in the first stint. I’d ask you to use your head a bit more.”
Verstappen: “I could also push on and we do another stop, a little bit of pit stop training?”
Lambiase; “No, not this time.”
Verstappen emphasised that he and Lambiase have a long-standing working relationship, dating back to 2016 when they first teamed up with Red Bull. Over the years, they have developed a deep understanding of each other, making their communication style uniquely effective.
“That’s how we operate,” said Verstappen whilst being interviewed by Sky,
“I mean, I think we know each other very well, from all the years we have been working together already.
“The car has been performing really well. Of course, they want to keep it under control but I’m the one in the car feeling how the tyres are behaving.
“They have the numbers but it’s still also a feeling thing and I think as long as they tell me from there what they’re seeing then I can make my mind up in terms of how to push it out.
“And I think that’s working out very well for us at the moment.”
Drama at the start 😮
— Formula 1 (@F1) July 30, 2023
Removal of race engineer ‘not ideal’
While Verstappen appreciates the data-driven approach of the team, he also relies on his own feeling and instincts while in the car. The combination of technical data and Verstappen’s on-track experience has been successful for them so far, leading to impressive performances on the track.
The relationship between a driver and their race engineer is a crucial aspect of their performance, and Verstappen acknowledges the significance of Lambiase’s role. He considers Lambiase’s presence and experience as vital to his achievements in Formula 1, noting that losing him would be far from ideal.
“Of course, over the years you build up much more of a relationship, you know each other better,” said Verstappen to Motorsport.com.
“So yeah for sure, if he were to be removed or whatever that would definitely not be ideal at all.”