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Verstappen explains Lambiase front wing radio message during F1 Japanese GP

Max Verstappen has admitted his Red Bull engineer Gianpiero Lambiase was right over a set-up call as he explained their radio messages heard during the Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB20

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

The reigning F1 world champion got back to winning ways with a dominant display at Suzuka, leading home a Red Bull 1-2 by beating Sergio Perez by 12.5 seconds.

During his victory charge, a radio exchange between Verstappen and Lambiase gained attention, when the Dutch driver reported his car was understeering at the start of his first race stint before moving towards a feeling of oversteer.

“Yeah, maybe one or two clicks less is OK,” Verstappen said.

“I won't say I told you so, but understood. Thank you,” his race engineer replied.

After the race, it was revealed the pair had disagreed over what front wing level to use, which triggered the radio exchange, and in the top three press conference Verstappen explained how the message also helped motivate him.

“We had, not an argument, but he said, ‘are you sure you want to do this?’ I was pretty sure and it turned out to be wrong!” Verstappen explained. “But he was right.

“In a way, it also fires me up because I am like, ‘even though I am not entirely happy with the balance now I will still try to be as consistent as I can be without shouting back at him.’ We have a great relationship and it works well like that.”

Having been on the back foot on Friday at Suzuka, Verstappen felt set-up changes between practice and qualifying delivered him a better handling RB20, which set up his pole, victory and fastest lap clean sweep.

“I was not happy up until qualifying but we did make some changes,” he said. “I cannot go into detail on that but it did help today and it made it a lot nicer to drive and on the car control.”

The radio exchange marks the latest friendly disagreement between Verstappen and Lambiase that has become a theme of their relationship – something the Dutch driver said he needed in order to reach his best performance levels through 2023.

Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko has called them an “old married couple” and that their dynamic created a successful partnership. 

“That is the old married couple coming out again!” Marko said. “There was a very long discussion before about how many clicks of the front wing we had to change. Max insisted and Gianpiero was happy when it turned out that he was right in the end.

“Max and his race engineer are very experienced, also together with the data engineer. They know what to do and they know what Max likes.

“It was more or less the right decision, we just had to make a small adjustment after the first stint, so during the first stop.”

Watch: F1 2024 Japanese Grand Prix Review – Normal Service Resumed

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