Max Verstappen and Christian Horner speak up on the Dutchman’s interaction and relation with his F1 race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase.
The F1 Belgian GP saw some tensions between Red Bull’s Verstappen and his race engineer Lambiase during qualifying in drying conditions where the Dutchman was almost knocked out in Q2 as they were discussing about the run plan.
Verstappen apologised later on but they had another set of interactions on the radio during the grand prix about pit stop. The Dutchman played those down where he did note that some were in fun and some in seriousness, but it doesn’t affect their relation as such.
“Probably 50-50 in the messages,” said Verstappen. “I know that the team doesn’t like to do another stop but I like to mention it so they might get a bit nervous. And then I like the response: ‘no, no, we’re not doing that today’. It’s fine. We know each other very well and we have a very good relationship.
“I think it’s very important, the relationship with your race engineer. I find it always a really important part of your performance, not only your race engineer but everyone very close around you, performance engineer, these kinds of things. And of course, over the years, you build up much more of a relationship, you know each other much better.
“So yeah, for sure, if he would be removed or whatever that’s definitely not ideal at all,” summed up Verstappen, as team boss Horner concurred with the Dutchman about the respect the two have for each other even if the conversations get a bit heated up.
“GP and Max have been together since the first race that Max stepped into the car,” said Horner. “Max is a demanding customer. And you’ve got to be a strong character to deal with that and GP is our Jason Statham equivalent, I guess, they certainly look alike and he deals with him firmly but fairly and there’s a great respect between the two of them and that’s comes out of a mutual trust that you must have between an engineer.
“The only problem is that conversation between the two of them 200 million people are listening to. But there’s a great bond between the two of you and a great trust between the two. There’s no counselling required. There’s nothing along those lines. And there’s nothing on spicing up, absolutely not.
“I mean, as I said, Max is a very demanding customer and he’s hungry for everything. And GP does a very good job in managing Max during the course of a free weekend or qualifying. And there’s a mutual trust and respect between the two of them,” summed up Horner, who agrees that Verstappen is a strong character and Lambiase is good enough to handle him that he doesn’t need his intervention like Toto Wolff does sometimes.
“Obviously, GP is in contact with me on the pitwall, but the main communication is with the driver and the engineer,” said Horner. “And there’s that respect and as I say, trust between the two, and I think to race engineer, Max Verstappen you’ve got to have strength of character, because he is one tough customer. And many race engineers would crumble under that pressure and GP has got the strength of character to deal with that, and the respect and trust between both the guys.”
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