Max Verstappen paid tribute to his race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase after a testing 2023 Belgian Grand Prix weekend for their relationship, which saw the Dutchman snap over team radio during qualifying.
However, it was all smiles at the end of a dominant weekend for Max Verstappen who was P1 in qualifying and the sprint shootout, and won the sprint race and grand prix for a crushing clean sweep.
And Verstappen was asked about his relationship with Lambiase and what would change if he switched race engineer.
“I think it’s very important the relationship with your race engineer,” Verstappen told the media. “I find it always a really important part of your performance, not only your race engineer but everyone very close around your performance, the other engineers.
“And of course, over the years you build up much more of a relationship, you know each other much better. So yeah, for sure, if he would be removed that’s definitely not ideal at all.”
Verstappen entered the weekend accepting a five-place grid penalty for extra gearbox parts and nearly went out in Q2, causing him to slam Red Bull‘s qualifying strategy over team radio before Lambiase pushed back at the criticism.
However, Verstappen apologised after he topped Q3, and Lambiase joked he’s slowly getting used to it – he’s been the Dutchman’s race engineer for his entire Red Bull career after previously overseeing Daniil Kvyat.
Verstappen was half-joking with pit stop message
Verstappen showed a snapshot of his season near the end of the Belgian GP offering to push harder and pit for the fastest lap, which the team refused.
Spa marked Verstappen‘s eighth win on the bounce and continued Red Bull‘s clean sweep of the 2023 Formula 1 season while he now leads Sergio Perez by 125 points in the drivers’ championship.
Verstappen was asked after the race if he was joking in that message, after Lewis Hamilton denied him the fastest lap at the death.
“Probably 50-50 in the messages,” Verstappen said. “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 of ‘No, no, we’re not doing that today’. It’s fine, we know each other very well and have a very good relationship.”
Where is the next F1 2023 race?
F1 will return from its summer break with the 2023 Dutch Grand Prix from Zandvoort on August 25-27, where championship leader Max Verstappen will be racing on home soil.