Max Verstappen apologised to his Red Bull race engineer for an outburst over the team radio during the middle of the session after recording the fastest lap in qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix.
The current World Champion advanced to the final round of qualifying after finishing 10th in Q2 and earning his eighth pole position of the 2023 season at the Belgian Grand Prix on Friday with a lap eight tenths quicker than Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari.
Verstappen expressed his displeasure with his Q2 run plan by criticizing the Red Bull team and race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase over team radio after barely making it through to Q3.
Verstappen, who will start Sunday’s grand prix from sixth due to a five-place grid penalty for exceeding his gearbox allocation, made it clear that he was unhappy with his Q2 run plan.
Max Verstappen rants at race engineer after Q2 scare:
Verstappen: “I should have just ****ing pushed two laps in a row, like I said.”
Lambiase: “So, you are through, Max.”
Verstappen: “Yeah, I don’t give a ****… it’s just **** execution.”
Lambiase: “OK, 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? You tell me what you want to do in Q3, and we’ll do it. Let me know. Sets, fuel, run plan…”
Verstappen afterwards set the fastest time by a significant margin and apologised to Lambiase directly over the radio during the cooling lap.
“Woah! Nice gap, that!” Verstappen said of his advantage over Leclerc. “At least we had a good Q3. Sorry to GP for being so on the rant.”
Lambiase replied: “Slowly getting used to it, Max.”
Verstappen later clarified his outrage in post-session interviews explaining to Tom Kristensen, the master of ceremonies and a Le Mans legend, why he was so upset.
“Of course, the conditions are very tricky,” he said. “The track was really drying quickly and [on] my final lap in Q2 I just didn’t have that confidence to push more and I was very lucky to be in P10.
“But then, of course, in Q3, you have to tyre sets that you can push a little bit more, you can risk a little bit more, and that’s what we did on that final lap.
“I know that I have to drop back on Sunday with the penalty I have, but it was the best I could do today.”
Verstappen explained how to find time as the circuit changed throughout the session as qualifying was run on a drying track due to heavy rain in the Spa region.
“I guess Sector 2 was still a bit damp, so there was only one dry line, or in some corners you had to do a bit of an alternative line to normal in the dry,” he said. “It was all about just feeling confident and basically risking everything in that final run to get more lap time.
“We know that the car was quick and I think even with these tricky conditions today, luckily we could show that again.”
Verstappen famously triumphed from position 14 on the starting grid in Spa in 2022, and he maintains that an eighth consecutive victory for him and a 13th consecutive triumph for Red Bull are still very much within reach on Sunday.