Verstappen admits he needed ‘a bit of fire’ from Lambiase


Max Verstappen says his outstanding 2023 track record in F1 was achieved in part thanks to the often fiery relationship he enjoys with Red Bull race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase.

In the high-pressure environment of Formula 1, where every millisecond counts and the margin of error is razor-thin, a strong relationship between driver and race engineer is crucial for achieving peak performance.

Verstappen credits Lambiase's direct and sometimes blunt approach with providing the "bit of fire" he needed to push himself to the limit and deliver consistent race victories.

While their exchanges on team radio may appear heated to outsiders, the Dutchman appreciates the clarity and honesty with which Lambiase communicates, knowing that it stems from a deep understanding of his driving style and the demands of Formula 1.

“It’s how the relationship works,” Verstappen told “I would be very, not upset, but I wouldn’t want to have an engineer who is very monotone or just says ‘copy… check that’.

“You just need a bit of fire. That’s how I like to operate.”

The radio communication between Verstappen and his long-standing race engineer usually gets a lot of airtime on race weekends, which has led the Dutchman to believe that fans actually enjoy the intense exchanges.

“I guess people love it,” he said. “But that’s our relationship. We are very straightforward and if we don’t like something, we of course communicate.

“It’s also a bit F1’s fault because they broadcast everything just to throw it out there.

“They don’t need to broadcast it – if you know what I mean. So, I guess they also like the excitement coming out.

“But our relationship has never really changed in that manner. And also after the race we are absolutely fine because, of course, we are there to win the race.”

At times, Verstappen inserts the odd expletive into his messages. And that’s a sign of intentness, or pressure according to Lewis Hamilton.

“You know he’s serious when he puts the ‘F’ in front of it”, commented the seven-time world champion last summer at Silverstone.


Last October in Austin, Verstappen also expressed audible frustration with Lambiase’s messages during the later stages of the US Grand Prix as he battled a braking problem.

But the Dutchman denies that pressure is ever responsible for him losing his cool on the radio.

“[At Austin], I was just not happy with what was going on and I needed full focus just to concentrate on the braking to be consistent,” Verstappen explained.

“But, it’s good that they [other drivers] might think like that. But, for me, I’m never… Well, even if I am under pressure I’m not making mistakes anyway. So, it’s fine.”

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter