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Max Verstappen

Lambiase opens up about Verstappen: 'Max is my little brother'

Max Verstappen and Gianpiero Lambiase are cut from the same cloth, but what makes their relationship a championship-winning success?

Verstappen Lambiase Horner Japan
To news overview © Red Bull Content Pool

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."


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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