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Formula 1 Belgian GP

Verstappen "50/50" on response to F1 race engineer in tense Belgian GP exchange

Max Verstappen says he was split “50-50” in answering back seriously and humorously to Red Bull engineer Gianpiero Lambiase during their latest testy exchanges in Formula 1’s 2023 Belgian race.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, 1st position, celebrates on arrival in Parc Ferme

After their high-profile disagreement in qualifying at Spa, plus interest in Verstappen’s relationship with Lambiase growing in 2023 with an absence of a victory battle against Red Bull’s rivals, the pair again attracted attention with their discussions at various points of the Dutchman’s dominant win on Sunday.

Once Verstappen had reached second place behind early leader and team-mate Sergio Perez, Lambiase asked him to “use your head”, to which Verstappen replied: “Are we both [the two drivers] doing it or what”

When Lambiase came back with “you just follow my instruction”, Verstappen responded angrily, saying “I want to know if both cars do it”, which was followed by his engineer ending the exchange firmly insisting “Max, please just follow my instruction, thank you”.

Much later, after Verstappen’s second and final pitstop to move back to the soft tyres after a middle stint on the mediums where he had passed and then massively gapped Perez, Lambiase chided him for risking taking too much life out of his final set by pushing hard in a bid to set a fastest lap.

Verstappen had taken this provisionally before Lewis Hamilton snared it on the last lap of the race for Mercedes.

Gianpiero Lambiase, Red Bull Racing race engineer

Gianpiero Lambiase, Red Bull Racing race engineer

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

When asked about the radio exchanges following his victory, Verstappen said the split in his tone was “probably, 50-50 in the messages”.

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He added: “I know 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 that ‘oh no, we’re not doing that today’. It’s fine. We know each other very well and we have a very good relationship. “

Verstappen also said his relationship with his race engineer was “very important”.

“I find it always a really important part of your performance – not only your race engineer but also everyone very close around you [like] your performance engineer and these kind of things,” he added.

“Of course, over the years you build up much more of a relationship, you know each other better.

“So yeah for sure, if he were to be removed or whatever that would definitely not be ideal at all.”

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