Max Verstappen on concern over Gianpiero Lambiase being ‘removed’

Michelle Foster
Max Verstappen smiling with his race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase. Miami May 2022

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen in the garage smiling with his race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase. Miami May 2022

Max Verstappen has downplayed his testy exchanges with Gianpiero Lambiase over the Belgian Grand Prix weekend, saying that’s how he and his race engineer “operate”.

Chasing an eighth grand prix win on the trot at Spa, Verstappen wasn’t happy with GP’s run plan during Friday evening’s qualifying with Helmut Marko putting that down to nothing more than an “old married couple” having an argument.

But two days later the testy exchanges were back as Verstappen, having started the race in sixth place due to a gearbox penalty, chased down his team-mate Serio Perez for the lead.

Max Verstappen: I think that’s working out very well for us at the moment

Told by GP to “use your head please”, Verstappen hit back with an “are we both doing it or what” with his race engineer insisting: “You just follow my instruction.”

There was another back-and-forth later in the race with GP not happy with Verstappen’s tyre management.

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.”

But don’t for a moment think this could be the end of the driver/race engineer relationship with Verstappen saying his comments to GP were “fifty-fifty” in jest.

“That’s how we operate,” he told Sky Sports. “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.” recommends

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Verstappen and Lambiase have been together since 2016, teaming up in the driver’s first season with Red Bull with GP integral in every one of the Dutchman’s 45 race wins and two World titles.

It’s a relationship that Verstappen billed as “very important”.

“I find it always a really important part of your performance – not only your race engineer but also everyone very close around you [like] your performance engineer and these kind of things,” quotes him as having said.

“Of course, over the years you build up much more of a relationship, you know each other better.

“So yeah for sure, if he were to be removed or whatever that would definitely not be ideal at all.”

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