Max Verstappen’s race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase has revealed that he was frustrated with the Dutchman despite his dominant win in the 2023 F1 season-opening Bahrain.
Verstappen started the race in Sakhir from pole position, ahead of his Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez, and quickly took control of the proceedings.
The RB19’s supreme control over tire degradation allowed the reigning world champion to open up an insurmountable gap to the rest of the pack after his first stint on soft tires, making the rest of the race a formality for him.
Although Verstappen appeared to be in cruise control, his race engineer was in no mood to take any chances. He issued orders for the driver to slow down by as much as 0.7 seconds per lap just to be sure the car crossed the finish line.
During the race, Lambiase was heard saying on the radio:
“Max, so you’re looking for plus 0.7 on the dash, I’ll get bored of this so just do it please.”
Following the race, Verstappen clarified the situation concerning the order. He said in an interview with ViaPlay:
“After that first stint, I just drove home. Of course, I had a big gap right away and after that, we didn’t really need to push anymore. Every time I wanted to push a bit, GP (Gianpiero Lambiase) – my engineer – got angry, so of course that says enough about the race. Of course, I’m very happy, it’s obviously a top start to the season and a very different start to last year.”
Gianpiero Lambiase’s move could have been to ensure Max Verstappen did not suffer a DNF at the race as he did in 2022. However, the fact that the Red Bull driver slowed down and still managed to hold a mammoth gap over the rest of the field could be an ominous sign for the likes of Ferrari and Mercedes this season.
Max Verstappen remains tight-lipped on RB19’s chances to replicate its predecessor’s success
Max Verstappen was relatively coy about his and Red Bull’s chances with the RB19 in 2023 after a dominant showing from its predecessor, the RB18.
After a record-breaking season that saw him win his second Drivers’ World Championship title while catapulting Red Bull to their first Constructors’ crown since 2013, Verstappen is expected to continue performing at this exalted level.
Heading into pre-season testing in Bahrain ahead of the first race in 2023, the double world champion was optimistic about what he could achieve without being carried away.
In a press release issued by Red Bull, Max Verstappen said:
“I’m feeling nice and relaxed heading into the 2023 season. I had a good break and prepared well this year. Time is so limited at testing so hopefully, we have some solid days without too many issues, it’s important to have smooth sessions.”
The Dutchman went on to add:
“The Team have worked hard over the winter and I hope the RB19 is another good car to challenge up at the front with but time will tell.”
With a dominant win already in the bag, it will come as no surprise if Max Verstappen and Red Bull go on to break and set more records during the 2023 F1 season.