Max Verstappen had to ‘make up for it’ after ignoring some important emails from Gianpiero Lambiase before the Christmas break.
Having had to fly to Japan for Honda’s Thanks Day and then to Baku for the FIA Prize Giving ceremony after the season finale in Abu Dhabi, Max Verstappen returned to Europe last week to visit Milton Keynes and the Red Bull campus for their ‘homecoming’ event to celebrate wrapping up the Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships.
Finally taking the opportunity to have a breather and relax, Verstappen – together with Sergio Perez – appeared on Red Bull’s Talking Bull podcast in which the Dutch driver revealed he’s been battling some illness since the F1 season ended and, also, he hasn’t been keeping on top of his emails…
Max Verstappen: I have to apologise to Gianpiero Lambiase!
Having successfully avoided seeing his race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase for a few weeks, Verstappen revealed that he’d received a few F1 2024-specific emails from the engineer that he’d chosen to ignore as he switched off a little after the F1 season.
“After Abu Dhabi, I was very ill for a couple of days. So I’m still recovering from that,” Verstappen explained on the podcast.
“The travelling didn’t really help. But I know that I will have two really nice weeks, where I can really just switch off and not look at my emails and F1-related stuff.
“To be honest, I have to apologise to my engineer [Gianpiero Lambiase] because he sent me three emails relating to next year and I didn’t respond! I saw him today and I made up for it!”
Verstappen’s relationship with race engineer Lambiase is well-known for being akin to an old married couple, due to the amount of bickering the pair dose out to each other – Lambiase being well able to handle the Dutch driver’s infamous temper in a laidback, sardonic fashion.
Despite their radio messages suggesting they don’t get along, both always speak glowingly about each other as being extremely friendly and close but the nature of their communication tends to cloud that.
“You know our relationship. It’s a bromance,” Verstappen said.
“So yeah, I’m definitely looking forward to taking a bit of time off.
“I felt like in Abu Dhabi, when I was standing on the podium, it did hit me a little bit – the achievements this year. And yeah, it was a bit sad to climb out of the RB19 at the time.”
With Verstappen receiving his FIA trophy for the Drivers’ Championship, inscribed with his name for the third time, he was characteristically understated in explaining how he felt being handed the most prized trophy in motorsport.
“I remember when it was still around the Seb[astian Vettel] years, you see that he’s holding the trophy. Like wow, that is something really impressive,” he said.
“You only think about it ‘That would be quite cool if you have your name on it, you know?’
“Now that I see it three times on there with all these other great drivers on there… It’s cool. I can’t complain!”