During Friday qualifying, Verstappen and Lambiase caused surprise with a noticeable disagreement regarding their run plan.
That was followed up by more fiery exchanges in the race, particularly when Lambiase asked his driver to “use your head more” in the final stint when Verstappen took too much life out of his new soft tyres.
Verstappen playfully suggested that he would continue and take another pitstop for some “pitstop practice,” but his engineer promptly dismissed the idea.
Horner commended Lambiase for his resilience in handling a “challenging customer” like Verstappen, comparing Lambiase to the tough and charismatic Jason Statham.
Horner stated that in order to be a race engineer for Max Verstappen, one must possess strong personal qualities, as he is a very challenging individual.
“Numerous race engineers would succumb to such pressure, but GP possesses the resilience to handle it.”
“GP is our Jason Statham equivalent, I guess, they certainly look alike…! He deals with him firmly but fairly and there’s a great respect between the two of them.
The sole issue is that a conversation between the two individuals is being heard by 200 million people. However, there exists a strong connection and trust between them. No counseling is needed.
Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing
Photo by: Erik Junius
Verstappen admitted that his comments about making another pitstop to go for the fastest lap were intended as a joke. He acknowledged that the team is not fond of making additional stops, but he enjoys mentioning it to possibly make them feel uneasy.
When asked if Verstappen, who is marching unopposed to a third straight world title this season, is often taking it easier inside the car than people on Red Bull’s pitwall think, Horner said: “I think there’s sometimes an element of that. But we have to remember the engineers and the performance engineers, they’re living and breathing all the data they have in front of them.
“They possess the ability to observe and comprehend their driver’s manner of driving, as well as understand the impact it has on the vehicle and other related factors.”
“And I inquired with GP, ‘I understand his strategy, he is attempting to create a sufficient time difference for a pitstop,’ to which GP responded, ‘I believe he is maintaining a conservative pace, as all the measurements are well within acceptable limits.'”
Having trust and a strong bond is crucial, and that’s exactly what those two individuals possess. Occasionally, there may be some tension between them, but it dissipates rapidly.
During Friday’s qualifying session for the Belgian Grand Prix, Verstappen and Lambiase caused surprise by openly disagreeing about their strategy.