Red Bull chief and Max Verstappen ‘very intense’ as Horner discusses tensions

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Max Verstappen and Red Bull race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase have an “intense” partnership as Christian Horner denied there was a feud. Lambiase appeared frustrated with Verstappen’s requests at the Miami Grand Prix as the Dutchman battled through the field.

After asking his team how the front wing and differentials compared on different tyres, Lambiase hit back. In a heated team radio message, he said: “Max, please concentrate on driving while I look at that on the pit wall.”

However, Horner has confirmed there are no tensions between the pair with the Red Bull star simply “not afraid to speak his mind”. The team principal told Speedweek: “Everything’s fine between them.

“Gianpiero is simply not afraid to speak his mind. The dynamic between the two is so intense that in between you have to ask yourself who is supposed to be the driver and who is supposed to be the engineer here.

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“I think the work between a driver and his race engineer is quite fundamental to success. The engineer has to be able to implement what the driver needs. I recognise as strong a bond there as there used to be between Sebastian Vettel and Guillaume Rocquelin [Rocky].”

Lambiase and Verstappen have enjoyed several heated exchanges in recent months. The Italian asked Verstappen “what happened” after he ignored team orders to let Sergio Perez through at Sao Paulo at the end of last season.

Verstappen is known for his heated team radio meltdowns when things don’t go his way. At last year’s Singapore Grand Prix, Verstappen screamed “What the f**k is this about?” after a fuel error saw him qualify in P8.

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In Hungary last July, Verstappen demanded his race engineer fix an error before firing off expletives. He moaned: “I have no power. No, for f*** sake. Nothing works. Try to fix this issue.”

But, Verstappen clearly thinks highly of Lambiase with the duo understood to enjoy a close relationship. After winning the title in 2021, the Red Bull driver claimed he would walk away from the sport if Lambiase quit.

Speaking to Ziggo Sport, he explained: “’I have said to him I only work with him. As soon as he stops, I stop too. Of course, we can be pretty strict with each other sometimes, but I want that too.

“He has to tell me when I’m being a jerk and I have to tell him. I always told him that. He can tell me that on the radio as well, but it’s been going really well lately. The last few years I tried to be the engineer and he tried to be the driver.”

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