’I Don’t Give a F***’: Verstappen Insists He’s Cool With Race Engineer Despite Team Radio
An exchange between Max Verstappen and his race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase has raised eyebrows about their relationship.
The 2023 F1 Belgian GP sprint weekend is underway with Max Verstappen beating Charles Leclerc by 0.8 seconds in qualifying but losing pole to Leclerc due to a five-place grid penalty from a gearbox change. The one controversy to emerge from qualifying was a slightly terse exchange between Verstappen and race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase where Verstappen “ranted” to his engineer about his initial run in Q1.
It was an interesting qualifying for Sunday’s Grand Prix, with Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris placing their McLarens fifth and sixth respectively while Daniel Ricciardo had his laptime deleted for track limits and ended up nineteenth. Sergio Pérez starts second, while Lewis Hamilton starts third with Carlos Sainz behind him in fourth. Despite Verstappen positively wiping the floor with a decisive lap in Q3, his first run in Q1 frustrated him enough to speak to his engineer over the radio while in the garage preparing for Q2.
The exchange wasn’t heated as much as it was frustrated from Verstappen, with Lambiase responding calmly to his driver’s irritation. After finishing in tenth in Q1, Verstappen insisted to Lambiase that he “should’ve just f****** pushed two laps like I said,” then let out an exasperated sigh. Lambiase reminded him that he is through Q1, though Verstappen continued to say he “doesn’t give a f*** if [he’s] in P10, it’s just shitty execution.”
Lambiase calmly rejected Verstappen’s argument by reminding him that he would have no hybrid energy to complete the lap, then righted their ship by asking what he needed for the next qualifying session. The exchange was tense but not a yelling match, with Verstappen clearly frustrated by the underperformance. Verstappen later apologized after beating Leclerc and declined to comment about it after the race.
Competition is intense and brings out emotions in people. It’s not uncommon for drivers to be frustrated and vocal over the radio, and race engineers are trained to calm drivers down while understanding the effects of adrenaline and competitive pressure. While the exchange was intense, it does not look like it will be affecting his relationship with Lambiase in any significant way.
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