Race engineer Max Verstappen has joked that he is worried about how he will be treated if the Dutchman’s rivals start challenging him for Grand Prix wins. Verstappen has completely dominated since the start of the year, winning 17 races on his way to yet another Drivers’ Championship title.
His partnership with long-time engineer Gianpiero Lambiase has secured three titles in as many seasons but the latter has often had to dominate Verstappen’s touchy mid-race messages. They are often seen joking around on the radio, although their relationship continues to go from strength to strength as their success continues.
Lambiase appeared recently on the Talking bulls podcast alongside Verstappen and joked that he is worried about how the 25-year-old will react when the likes of Mercedes, Ferrari and McLaren come up to Red Bull and start challenging them for win
He said: “My biggest fear is when we have increased competition and we haven’t won every race because you see how he is treating me at the moment and he has won every race! I’m not really looking forward to it! .”
A particularly heated radio exchange between Verstappen and Lambiase was heard during qualifying at the Belgian Grand Prix earlier this year. The Dutch driver was furious at the end of Q2 as he tore into Red Bull’s strategy approach with a false rant, but Lambiase was having none of it.
Verstappen said: “I f***ing told you we should do two [fast] laps in a row, as I said. I don’t understand *** that we were P10. It’s just executing s***.” Lambiase snapped back: “Okay, and then when the track was two seconds faster for your last lap and you had no energy left, how would it that gone?”
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has often been asked about the tetchy radio exchanges between Verstappen and Lambiase during races. He joked earlier this year that the pair could benefit from ‘marriage counselling’ but was quick to emphasize the relationship that made their working relationship so successful.
“You know, sometimes it looks like they need a little bit of marriage counseling, but there’s a great respect and trust between the two of them,” Horner said. “For any top sportsman, they rely on the people around them, and I think that’s a GP [Lambiase] it is the one that has that interaction.
“It’s been going on for about six years. Max is a tough customer and would break a lot of race engineers and you need someone with self-assurance who can deal with that, and our GP is like Jason Statham and there’s a trust and connection between them.”
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