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Formula 1 Brazilian GP

Horner explains Verstappen’s bizarre F1 ‘Radio Red Bull’ song

Red Bull has explained the bizarre ‘Radio Red Bull’ moment that prompted Max Verstappen to deliver a Tom Jones singalong after winning Formula 1’s Brazilian Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19, 1st position, arrives in Parc Ferme

Verstappen took his 17th grand prix win of 2023 at Interlagos on Sunday, resulting in him securing another historic record as the driver with the highest ever win percentage in a season.

PLUS: The crucial lap that swung F1's Brazilian GP from Norris to Verstappen

Even if he does not triumph in either of the remaining two races of the campaign, his tally of 77.27% eclipses the 75% mark that Alberto Ascari reached in 1952 when he won six out of eight races.

As Verstappen's Red Bull squad congratulated him on the feat over the radio after the chequered flag, it said they would also give him another piece of history – and surprised him by playing the 1966 Tom Jones hit Green, Green Grass of Home.

Despite telling the team over the radio that he was “not a good singer”, Verstappen did attempt to join in with the lyrics as he returned to the pits.

His engineer Gianpiero Lambiase then told him over the radio: “Just don’t give up the day job” – before Verstappen responded: “I think I’m better at that!”

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, in the garage before the race

Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, in the garage before the race

The choice of such a classic hit prompted a bit of intrigue, but Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has explained the background – that the song was one that Verstappen and his father Jos used to play in the karting days.

“We learned today something else about Max, that when he used to head back from the kart races, his father used to play Tom Jones tracks over and over again,” said Horner.

“So I managed to put on Green, Green Grass of Home. It was Radio Red Bull.”

Horner admitted some surprise that, when asked to pick out a song for Verstappen, it was an old classic that emerged as the Dutchman’s favourite rather than anything modern.

“I've got no idea why a 26-year-old would pick Green, Green Grass. It was the most unlikely song I thought. But Jos told me in Qatar,” Horner added.

“I asked him 'What is his favourite song?', and I was going to see if Paul [Smith, Red Bull head of communications] can play it. And he went Green, Green Grass by Tom Jones. 

“I was thinking, obviously after the Spice Girls, that he would be totally into Ed Sheeran, or somebody contemporary of his age. But no, Tom Jones!”

Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing talks with race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing talks with race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase

Speaking about beating the Ascari record after the race, Verstappen said that more than being in the history books, it was testimony to the way that he and Red Bull were working flawlessly. 

“It's not something that when I joined Formula 1, I need to have a 75% win record over a season,” he said.

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“These kinds of things come along when everything just works really well. I feel good in the car, the car is very competitive, and the team barely makes mistakes as well. So then you can get a season like we are having.

“For me, it's more about just enjoying the moment and trying to maximise every single opportunity.”

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