It might seem like Max Verstappen and his engineer Gianpiero
Lambiase have a tough love relationship, after hearing them bicker
over team radio. The reality is this forms an important part of
their championship-winning success, with Lambiase engineering
Verstappen to all 52, and counting, of his Grand Prix wins, and
three World Championships. Speaking about their relationship on the
Talking Bull podcast, Lambiase explains how their working
relationship has developed since he started working with Verstappen
when he was just 18 years old. “It’s totally natural that after
seven or eight years that we know each other inside out and we know
what triggers the other one, how to coax, or put the arm around the
other one’s shoulder,” said Lambiase. Lambaise: We’ve had a few ups
and downs Although Verstappen won his first race on debut with Red
Bull, it did not bring instant success as the team struggled to
match the might of Mercedes. “In 2018, 2019, and 2020 when the car
wasn’t quite as competitive as the team would have liked,
especially for Max,” Lambiase recalled. “At that point you can see
his frustration coming through already that he wasn’t able to
compete for the championships at that point. “We had a few ups and
downs I would say in that period; the middle, third, fourth, fifth
year. But since 2021 – which was so intense – the relationship and
the bond was cemented that year.” Verstappen believes this period
of intense rivalry with Mercedes brought them closer, all while he
was also developing as an adult on the world stage. “You spend so
much time together. I started at the team when I was 18 years old,
now I’m 26,” said Verstappen. “When I look back at those images
from the first few races I did with the team I’m like ‘Oh, my God’
– It’s very different. “Also in my behaviour and growing up more,
it’s only natural that helps a lot in your relationship.”
Insatiable Over the years their passive-aggressive or sometimes
jaw-dropping communication via team radio has become a feature of
F1 TV broadcasts. The two can say what they want to each other,
simply because of their desire to win. “I still get upset, even in
such a dominant season when things don’t go well,” said Verstappen.
“It’s the same for GP, we still want to win and we still want to do
everything as perfectly as we can even though no one is perfect.
But we try to be as close to perfection as possible. “That’s why,
sometimes, we still have our arguments. But it’s all because we are
very driven to win and we don’t like it when we come out of a
weekend and we say how we could have done things better.” When
asked to sum up Verstappen in one word, Lambaise uses the same word
to describe himself, exhibiting why they make such a good working
duo. “I use the word ‘insatiable’ [to describe Max], which I think
goes for me as well,” said Lambaise. “No matter how many races we
win, or how many championships we have won or could win, I think
the point is I don’t think we’re ever happy. “Our bar is so high,
I’d say we’re both perfectionist and that nothing is ever good
enough. That’s what really motivates us to just keep doing what
we’re doing and following the process.”

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