Max Verstappen explains angry radio message after elimination close call

Thomas Maher
Red Bull's Max Verstappen on track at the Belgian Grand Prix. Spa-Francorchamps, July 2023.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen on track at the Belgian Grand Prix. Spa-Francorchamps, July 2023.

Max Verstappen almost fell victim to improving conditions at the end of Q2, leading to an angry radio message…

Verstappen will start Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix from sixth on the grid, but the Dutch driver claimed pole position in Friday’s qualifying session – a five-place grid penalty being applied to his result as a result of a gearbox change.

Clinching top spot by 0.8 seconds, Verstappen only scraped through Q2 down in P9 after his last flying lap was less than optimal, leading to an angry radio message to race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase.

What was Max Verstappen’s angry radio message?

Pressing in his radio button, Verstappen angrily said: “I should have just ****ing pushed two laps in a row, like I said.”

Lambiase: “So, you are through, Max.”

Verstappen: “Yeah I don’t give a f**k… it’s just s**t execution.”

Lambiase: “OK, 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? You tell me what you want to do in Q3, and we’ll do it. Let me know. Sets, fuel, run plan…”

Having gone on to take pole position a few minutes later, Verstappen apologised to Lambiase over team radio as he returned to the pits.

“Woah, nice gap that,” Verstappen said of his advantage over Leclerc. “At least we had a good Q3. Sorry to GP for being so on the rant.”

“Slowly getting used to it, Max,” Lambiase replied.

Having been under pressure at the end of Q2, Verstappen explained afterward what had happened to make it such a close-run thing. recommends

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“I had to abort my first lap, because I went wide over the white line in Turn 8 or 9,” he told media, including

“So I had to abort that lap, then I did another slow lap. It just felt like I probably lost a little bit too much temperature in the tyres, and then, because of that mistake, I just took a lot of margin there.

“It was way too much. With the track ramping up that quickly, it was very, very close.”

Asked whether his interaction with Lambiase was normal service in such circumstances, Verstappen laughed.

“That happens sometimes. Most of it is normally blocked off!” he said.

“I think we both can be quite vocal or emotional. But we always solve it afterward, it’s all good.”

Max Verstappen explains 0.8 seconds gap

Having taken such a dominant pole position, Verstappen was asked whether he expected such a large gap to the rest of the pack.

“Yeah, but I do know that we have a very good car,” he said.

“But I think it’s more just having a bit more luck with the line or the grip. If it would have been a full dry qualifying, I think the gap wouldn’t have been like this.”

Having put in a steady first lap in Q3, the Dutch driver explained where he found extra pace for the crucial final run.

“Maybe Turns 8 and 9, because I think I was incredibly slow there before,” he said.

“Because I had a few moments – I almost crashed in Q2.

“Even in Q3, my first one, I was very slow there. So my second attempt just went a lot faster there.”

Read More: Max Verstappen apologises after heated team radio ‘rant’ at race engineer at Spa