Max Verstappen explains ‘I told you so’ radio exchanged with race engineer

Michelle Foster
Max Verstappen hops out of his RB20 having arrived on the grid

Max Verstappen won the Japanese GP in a third Red Bull 1-2 for the season

Complaining about his RB20 swapping from understeer to oversteer, Max Verstappen says Gianpiero ‘GP’ Lambiase’s “I told you so” message fired him up as he raced to the win in Japan.

Despite clinching pole position, his fourth in as many races for the season, Verstappen lined up on the Japanese Grand Prix grid worried about his RB20’s long-run pace after Ferrari showed impressive pace in the practice sessions.

‘I won’t say I told you so, but understood. Thank you!

His race engineer GP felt a tweak to the levels of front wing used ahead of the Grand Prix would make a difference but Verstappen stood firm in his opinion.

But as he complained about his RB20 understeering and then oversteering, he admitted over the radio to GP: “Yeah, maybe one or two clicks less is okay.”

GP replied: “I won’t say I told you so, but understood. Thank you!”

Taking the victory by 12 seconds ahead of his team-mate Sergio Perez, his third win of this year, Verstappen was asked about his radio exchange with his long-time race engineer.

“We had, not an argument, but he said, ‘are you sure you want to do this?’,” Verstappen explained in the press conference. “I’m like, ‘yeah, I’m pretty sure’.

“Turned out to be wrong. So he was right.

“But in a way, it also fires me up, because I’m like, OK, well, even I’m not entirely happy with the balance now, I’ll still try to be as consistent as I can be without shouting back at him.

“But we have a great relationship. And yeah, it works well like that.”

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The ‘old married couple’ back it

Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko laughed off the “old married couple” and their latest “very long discussion”.

“That is the old married couple coming out again!” he said as per Motorsport.com. “There was a very long discussion before about how many clicks of the front wing we had to change.

“Max insisted and Gianpiero was happy when it turned out that he was right in the end.

“Max and his race engineer are very experienced, also together with the data engineer. They know what to do and they know what Max likes.

“It was more or less the right decision, we just had to make a small adjustment after the first stint, so during the first stop.”

The Austrian was happy with how Red Bull’s race weekend panned out with Verstappen leading home Sergio Perez for the 1-2.

“First of all, people must understand that we have brought a major update package this weekend,” he said. “To understand that package, we lost one session because the second practice session was cancelled.

“Furthermore, the conditions were completely different today [Sunday]. The track temperature was fourteen degrees higher than the days before. Thirdly, we made the right changes in terms of set-up towards the race.”

He added: “The race is always different for Max anyway. In the race he only needs one of our four-wheeled cars to win!”

Red Bull’s third 1-2 of the season saw them extend their advantage over Ferrari in the Constructors’ Championship to 21 points with Verstappen and Perez holding down the 1-2 in the Drivers’ standings.

Read next: Japanese Grand Prix conclusions: The Red Bull effect, Ricciardo’s last chance and more