Max Verstappen continues race engineer tiff with tense Belgian GP messages

Henry Valantine
Max Verstappen with Gianpiero Lambiase. Austria July 2023.

Max Verstappen looks over data with race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase. Austria July 2023.

Max Verstappen had another tetchy radio exchange with race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase during the Belgian Grand Prix, as he closed in on the lead of the race.

Verstappen had passed Charles Leclerc for second place on the road and was closing in on team-mate Sergio Perez for the lead, but with that came a reminder from ‘GP’ about the rules of engagement between the team-mates in combat.

The reigning World Champion came back with a snappy reply, however, but not for the first time this weekend, Lambiase gave as good as he got with his driver.

The exchange in full:

Lambiase: “Don’t forget, Max, use your head please.”
Verstappen: “Are we both doing it or what?
Lambiase: “You…just follow my instruction.”
Verstappen: “I want to know whether both cars will do it.”
Lambiase: “Max, please follow my instruction and trust it. Thank you.”

The pair had already argued over the airwaves in qualifying on Friday as Verstappen squeezed through to Q3 before taking pole position, with Verstappen making the case that he should have pushed for two laps in a row.

But with that, Lambiase responded: “Okay, 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?” recommends

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Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko played down any concerns around the pair, who famously enjoy a strong working relationship, saying their first squabble was nothing more than an “old married couple” argument.

Any worries Verstappen may have had around how he and Perez would go racing against each other would not have been playing on his mind too much either, as he sailed past his team-mate on the Kemmel Straight to take the lead on lap 17 of the Belgian Grand Prix.

Apart from a nervy moment on lap 21 as some light rain fell on the circuit through Raidillon and Eau Rouge, Verstappen almost losing the car, the Dutchman strolled to an eighth successive victory to move to within one of the all-time record set by Sebastian Vettel in 2013.

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