Max Verstappen’s race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase has revealed that he was frustrated with the Dutchman despite his commanding victory in the 2023 F1 season opener in Bahrain.
Verstappen started the race at Sakhir from pole position, ahead of his Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez, and quickly took control of proceedings.
The RB19’s supreme control over tire degradation allowed the reigning world champion to open an insurmountable gap to the rest of the field after his first stint on soft tyres, making the rest of the race a formality for him.
Although Verstappen appeared to be on cruise control, his race engineer was in no mood to take chances. He gave orders for the driver to slow down to 0.7 seconds per lap just to make sure the car crossed the finish line.
During the race, Lambiase was heard saying on the radio:
“Max, so you’re looking for more 0.7 on the board, I’m going to get bored of this, so please do it.”
After the race, Verstappen clarified the situation regarding 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 any more. Every time I wanted to push a little bit, GP (Gianpiero Lambiase) – my engineer got mad. So of course that says enough about the race. Of course I’m very happy, it’s obviously a terrific start to the season and a very different start to last year.”
Gianpiero Lambiase’s move might have been to make sure Max Verstappen didn’t suffer a DNF in the race like he did in 2022. However, the fact that the Red Bull driver slowed down and still managed to hold a gigantic gap over the rest of the field could be an ominous sign for the likes of ferrari and Mercedes this season.
Max Verstappen remains mum on RB19’s chances of replicating his predecessor’s success
Max Verstappen has been relatively coy about his and Red Bull’s chances with the RB19 in 2023 after a dominating performance from its predecessor, the RB18.
After a record-breaking season in which he won his second World Drivers’ Championship title and catapulted Red Bull to its first Constructors’ crown since 2013, Verstappen is expected to continue to perform at this elevated level.
Looking ahead to pre-season testing in Bahrain before the first race in 2023, the double world champion he was optimistic about what he could accomplish without getting carried away.
In a press release issued by Red BullMax Verstappen said:
“I feel good and relaxed going into the 2023 season. I had a good rest and prepared well this year. Time is very limited in testing so I hope to have some solid days without too many problems, it’s important to have smooth sessions.” . .”
The Dutchman went on to add:
“The team has worked hard over the winter and I expect the RB19 to be another good car to challenge up front, but time will tell.”
With a dominating victory already in the bag, it will come as no surprise if Max Verstappen and Red Bull continue to break and set more records during the 2023 F1 season.