Christian Horner has sought out Gianpiero ‘GP’ Lambiase for praise after Max Verstappen recorded a stunning 19 victories in the 2023 season.
The man in Verstappen’s ear for every lap this year was 43-year-old British Italian race engineer GP, who has been with the Dutchman ever since he moved up to the Red Bull seat.
But despite Verstappen’s success, being his race engineer is not an easy task and GP has found himself on the end of more than one angry tirade.
Christian Horner praises Max Verstappen’s ‘bromance’
The two’s relationship has often been put under the microscope with neither afraid to be blunt with one another.
A good example of that came in Belgium when Verstappen fumed at their Q2 run plan but rather than back down, GP stood his ground.
The exchange went like this:
MV: “I should have just pushed two laps in a row like I said.”
GP: “But you are through Max…”
MV: “I don’t give a f**k mate if I’m through in P10. Just s**t execution.”
GP “And 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?
“You tell me what you want to do in Q3, and we’ll do it. Let me know. Sets, fuel, run plan.”
But they remain friends once the helmet comes off and team principal Horner took time to praise the efforts of the engineer.
“One who didn’t want to get on the podium with the rest of the engineering team was Max’s race engineer: GP,” Horner said at the Autosport Awards.
“He has taken a bromance to the next level this year in terms of managing a driver. I would therefore also like to congratulate Gianpiero Lambiase for what he has achieved with Max, by putting up with a grumpy Max every now and then.”
GP himself said Verstappen was hard on the team but that is how they get the best out of themselves.
“It has been a great year,” he said. “I wouldn’t change it for the world. Max is an incredible driver.
“He is very hard on his team, on me but above all on himself. He really sets the bar high for every competitor, every athlete, every driver who strives to get the best out of themselves.”