Christian Horner has lauded Gianpiero Lambiase of Red Bull for his unwavering resolve and formidable character in managing Max Verstappen
The interaction between Verstappen and his seasoned race engineer became a focal point during Friday’s qualifying session at the Belgian Grand Prix, as the duo found themselves in disagreement over the strategic plan.
The intensity of their radio communications reached a crescendo on race day, with Lambiase earnestly advising Verstappen to exercise greater strategic acumen in the final stages of the race.
Reflecting on the exchanges between the two over the Belgian Grand Prix, Horner praised Lambiase for his steadfast and unwavering approach in handling the formidable Verstappen.
“I think to race engineer Max Verstappen you’ve got to have strength of character, because he is one tough customer,” Horner said.
“Many race engineers would crumble under that pressure and GP has got the strength of character to deal with that.
In a light-hearted manner, Horner drew a playful analogy, likening Lambiase’s demeanour to that of the rugged Hollywood action icon, Jason Statham.
“GP is our Jason Statham equivalent, I guess, they certainly look alike…! He deals with him firmly but fairly and there’s a great respect between the two of them.
“The only problem is that conversation between the two of them, 200 million people are listening to. But there’s a great bond and a great trust between the two. There’s no counselling required.”
In response to the observation that Verstappen’s and Red Bull’s consistent dominance this season might have contributed to the two-time world champion’s increased composure on the track, Horner expressed, “I believe there’s a certain aspect of that.”
The Red Bull team principal went on to explain his view on Max Verstappen’s composure this campaign amid the dominance his team is having.
Horner commented: “I believe there’s a certain aspect of that. But we have to remember the engineers and the performance engineers, they’re living and breathing all the data they have in front of them.
“They can see, and they know their driver’s driving style, they know what they’re taking out of the car and so on.
“And I was asking GP: ‘I know what he’s doing, he’s trying to build up a gap for a pitstop’ and GP said: ‘I think he’s taking it pretty easy, all the metrics are massively under control.’
“So, it’s having that trust and bond that’s so important, which is what those two guys have. I mean, sometimes it gets a bit sparky between the two of them. But it’ll calm down very quickly.”