Verstappen had a heated argument with his teammate during the middle part of qualifying at Spa on Friday. This segment, which Verstappen eventually dominated, included a passionate outburst filled with explicit language from the driver.
After barely making it through Q2 in 10th place, Verstappen appeared to be angry with Red Bull’s request for him to complete a full lap at a slower pace in order to recharge his battery before making another attempt in Q2. This request came after he had a late off at Turn 9 during that segment.
Verstappen desired to quickly attempt another flying lap after making a mistake. However, Lambiase from Red Bull expressed concerns that the soft tires would become excessively hot after a second consecutive attempt. Additionally, he mentioned that there was insufficient time to complete a slower lap and then finish with a final fast lap.
He also had worries about the substantial impact of track changes on the race and the possibility of Verstappen’s competitors gaining speed while he had already utilized all the electrical boost from his engine during two consecutive fast laps.
Verstappen expressed his frustration, suggesting that they should have executed consecutive laps with full force, as he had previously advised.
Lambiase stated, “Max, you have reached the end.”
Verstappen expressed his indifference towards being in P10, stating that he didn’t care and found the execution of the race to be poor.
Lambiase: “Alright, so if the track was two seconds faster for your last lap and you were out of energy, how would that have played out? But you let me know what your plan is for Q3, and we’ll make it happen. Just inform me about the sets, fuel, and run plan you prefer.”
Verstappen expressed regret for his earlier remarks after securing the top qualifying position, outperforming Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc by a significant margin of 0.82s. He offered his apologies upon returning to the pits at the end of Q3.
Verstappen: “Wow – that’s a great distance! Anyway, we performed well in Q3. And, I apologize to the Grand Prix for expressing my frustration in such an extensive manner.”
Lambiase mentioned that he is gradually adapting to it, Max. He stated that Leclerc was eight tenths ahead.
Verstappen expressed his relief, stating that fortunately, they have several more years together, which is a positive outcome.
Max Verstappen, the leading driver for Red Bull Racing, and Sergio Perez, also from Red Bull Racing, engage in conversation at Parc Ferme.
Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images
When asked about the Q2 incident by Motosport.com and considering if he and Red Bull could have operated better at that point, Verstappen replied: “Honestly, there is no need for me to comment on that here, I will discuss it with him [Lambiase].”
“I cannot reword”
Verstappen mentioned that a significant portion of it is consistently restricted. He further stated that both of them tend to express themselves openly or passionately, but they always manage to resolve the issues later on. Therefore, everything is fine.
The dynamic between Verstappen and Lambiase has always intrigued F1 enthusiasts, as Lambiase’s composed and poker-faced manner in handling his driver’s frequently intense radio communications has been a subject of fascination.
The duo has collaborated since the Dutch driver was promoted to Red Bull Racing from what was previously known as Toro Rosso, which occurred after four races into the 2016 season. Initially, Lambiase was recruited from the former Force India team to work with Sebastian Vettel until the German driver switched to Ferrari in 2015.
Lambiase served as the race engineer for Daniil Kvyat, who took over for Vettel. However, Lambiase was later moved to Toro Rosso when Verstappen unexpectedly got promoted.
The Verstappen/Lambiase connection has attracted significant focus amidst the lackluster 2023 championship competition, where Verstappen is clearly in control.
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, Gianpiero Lambiase, Red Bull Racing race engineer
Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool
This is because the double world champion is now F1’s leading star – much as Lewis Hamilton previously was and considering how his relationship with Mercedes engineer Peter Bonnington became ever more famous as a result of their conversations being played out more regularly during TV broadcasts.
Plus, exchanges between Verstappen and Lambiase in 2023 – such as when the former insisted on pitting to secure the fastest lap during his Austrian GP domination – have been broadcast with Red Bull having little opposition at the front of the pack and therefore acting as additional narratives when the competition for race wins is currently so poor.
Christian Horner, the team principal of Red Bull, has previously compared the conversations and interactions on their radio to those of a long-term married couple.