Max Verstappen says that his heated discussions with race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase during the Belgian Grand Prix were a mix of seriousness and jokes.

Verstappen cruised to his 10th race win of the 2023 Formula 1 season at Spa-Francorchamps, which also marked his eighth consecutive victory.

Early in the race, Lambiase stated over the team radio to “please follow my instructions” prior to Verstappen’s first pit stop.

Verstappen also quipped that he “can’t see the weather radar” when asked about the potential to prolong his opening stint with rain approaching.

Lambiase also appeared to criticise Verstappen’s out lap following a pit stop, suggesting that he used too much of the tyre and encouraged the two-time World Champion to use his head more regarding tyre management.

Verstappen also stated that he could drive faster and make a late stop to give the team “pit stop practice”.

Verstappen was questioned over the nature of the messages after the grand prix, and said when asked if they were serious or jokes: “Probably 50/50 in the messages.

“I know that the team doesn’t like to do another stop [during the race], but I like to mention it so they might get a bit nervous. 

“I like the response of ‘no, no, we are not doing that today’. It’s fine. We know each other very well and we have a very good relationship.”

Verstappen’s relationship with Lambiase was hailed by Red Bull team boss Christian Horner, who highlighted the “mutual” trust between the pair.

The two-time World Champion highlighted that his relationship with Lambiase is one of the most important that he has. 

“Yeah, I think it’s very important, the relationship with your race engineer,” he said. 

“I find it always a really important part of your performance, and not only your race engineer but everyone close around you, your performance engineer and these kinds of things. 

“Of course, over the years you build up much more a relationship and you know each other better, so yeah, for sure, if he would be removed then that would definitely not be ideal at all.”

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