Max Verstappen maintains that even though he and his race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase sometimes have heated exchanges, there is never a fight because they both have the same intense desire to win the race.
Verstappen and his Gianpiero Lambiase have exchanged multiple messages during the current season, according to Formula 1 broadcasts. Many of those had a tense, occasionally confrontational tone and contained a few slurs.
In the most recent of the aforementioned incidents, Verstappen reprimanded Lambiase for providing him with information while he was braking at the United States Grand Prix, even though the driver was already experiencing brake troubles.
However, Damon Hill claimed the Red Bull star gave his race engineer a real hard time, and Peter Windsor felt sorry for Lambiase, whereas Red Bull team boss Christian Horner dismissed it as nothing further than the indiscretions of an elderly married couple.
The incident sparked rumors of a rift between Verstappen and his longtime engineer, but the Dutchman clarified in an interview for the most recent Red Bull “Talking Bull” podcast that there was never a fight—just two people trying to achieve the best outcome possible.
However, the respect is accompanied by a few sly remarks, particularly on Verstappen’s part. Verstappen recounted their conversation at this year’s Belgian Grand Prix, but denied ever having faked arguments with Lambiase.
When Verstappen was leading easily during the Belgian Grand Prix race, he informed his race engineer that he intended to push further in order to build up a gap so he could make an extra pit stop in a bid to secure the fastest lap point, as well as provide his Red Bull crew some extra pit stop training.
However, team boss Christian Horner and race engineer Lambiase dismissed his idea. Meanwhile, the triple World Champion and his right-hand man were asked about fictitious disputes on the podcast, it was evident how easy they got along.
Max: No, not a fake argument, but some… cheeky comments. And it’s definitely not going to be the last one. No fake arguments.
GP: Sometimes I get the feeling that you are just bored basically sometimes.
Max: Sometimes I just want to like [say] hello.
GP: Even if we’re 30 seconds up the road, I’ll still be in the zone as it were, still trying to maximise everything and taking everything seriously, whereas I think at that point he’s perhaps lost a bit of interest and he’s like, ‘Come on GP, just chill out of it.’
Max: It was maybe Spa or whatever, sometimes you check in like, ‘How’s it going?’ ‘All good?’ Like, ‘All good’. And then you talk about the tyres. And then I said, ‘We can also keep on pushing, you know, to try and open up a stop’. ‘No, we don’t need that today, it’s necessary!’
GP: Because I’ve got Christian in my ear saying, ‘No, no, we don’t need that’.
Max: There are a lot of reasons to it but sometimes it’s just a bit of banter. Probably then a bit of a fake argument.
Actually, the two genuinely enjoy working together and have a great deal of respect for one another. Lambiase said earlier this year that Verstappen and he had a similar personality, which made working together fun and he commended Verstappen for his work ethic.
Verstappen replied by claiming to have “a good relationship” with his race engineer, demonstrating the same respect and affection for him both on and off the track.
The Dutchman was once again full of praise for his race engineer in a recent interview that was posted on Oracle Red Bull Racing’s official YouTube channel.
“They don’t really understand what kind of a relationship you have,” the triple world champion said. “So, for example, if we are on the radio and we sound a bit upset or angry, they think we are in a fight.
“But that’s not the case, it’s just we want the best out there.”