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Max Verstappen engineer speaks out on relationship months after ‘shut up’ comment

Max Verstappen’s race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase has spoken out about their relationship just months after he was shut down by the Dutchman when trying to give him updates at the Imola Sprint race in April. Verstappen went on to finish first in Imola as he qualified for the main race in pole position.

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After Verstappen overtook his title rival Charles Leclerc in the Sprint race, Lambiase took to the radio. “He does not have DRS,” the Red Bull engineer told his driver. But Verstappen hissed back: “Mate, please do not talk in the breaking.”

Lambiase then decided to stay quiet after Verstappen crossed the finish line. And the confused driver had to ask: “This is it, right?” When team bosses confirmed the race was over, the F1 champion replied that he had not heard anything from Lambiase.

The exchange may have caused tension between the pair at the time. But it certainly hasn’t got in the way of their relationship as far as the engineer is concerned. “The relationship between a driver and a race engineer is based on mutual trust,” Lambiase explained in the Red Bulletin Heroes Verstappen Edition magazine. “The more direct a driver is, the more he trusts the team.

“My experience is that if a driver stops giving his honest opinion about the car and starts circling it, the results get worse. Max is direct, but so am I. That makes working with him very open, honest and easy.

“Some drivers want to get to the bottom of the data, while others don’t want to be involved at all. And then there’s Max. He explains very precisely where he can push the car to the limit and what exactly he needs to drive faster. We always know what to do because of his instructions. A driver who can communicate clearly is a great gift.

“He has an incredibly natural feel for racing, coupled with a good analytical mind. Some drivers need time to become this fast, but Max was fast right away. He knows the limits of the car and what he needs to do to make it go even faster. So it makes sense for us engineers to listen to him.”

Lambiase has also revealed that Verstappen’s desire to stay with Red Bull for the long-term has also been a positive. “His long-standing commitment to the team also plays a part,” the engineer added. “He wants to be part of Red Bull for the long-term – he believes in us and in our work.”

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