Christian Horner reveals ‘extremely painful’ consequences for Max Verstappen

Max Verstappen's audacious behaviour at the Spanish Grand Prix raised eyebrows in his team’s garage amid fears he could throw away an easy victory.

In a daring move that raised concerns among his team bosses, Max Verstappen risked a time penalty to secure the fastest lap point at the 2023 Spanish Grand Prix. 

Despite his victory in the race, Red Bull’s management expressed their reservations about Verstappen’s choices during the weekend.

Verstappen dominated the Spanish Grand Prix, leaving his competitors, Lewis Hamilton and George Russell of Mercedes, trailing behind. 

However, as the laps wound down, Verstappen received the black-and-white flag for exceeding track limits on three occasions, warning him of a potential time penalty.

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Undeterred, Verstappen consulted with his race engineer, Gianpiero Lambiase, about setting the fastest lap. 

Lambiase advised caution, stating, “We cannot afford any risks. Don’t worry about it.” 

However, disregarding the advice, Verstappen went for it and achieved the fastest lap, securing the additional point.

Afterwards, resigned to Verstappen’s determination, Lambiase urged him to focus on bringing the car home within the white lines, to which Verstappen nonchalantly replied, “Yeah, yeah.”

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While Verstappen’s actions impressed some, Red Bull’s motorsport advisor, Helmut Marko, conveyed his disapproval, admitting, “We didn’t want him to set the fastest lap. You just can’t stop him.” 

“He already had three warnings for the track limits. You don’t really risk anything in a situation like that.

“But you can’t be angry with him.”

Red Bull team principal, Christian Horner, echoed Marko’s sentiments, stating his intention to discuss the incident with Verstappen. 

Horner emphasised the risks involved, as Verstappen had already accumulated three offences, with the next one incurring a time penalty. 

“He has already had three offenses and the next one would have been a time penalty,” Horner told Sky, fearing if there had been a “Safety Car or something, it could’ve extremely painful.”

Verstappen, however, defended his actions and shared that he and Marko were already laughing about the incident before the post-race press conference. 

He argued that he had stayed within the track limits and merely pushed for a faster lap.

“So yeah, I just had to keep it within the white lines, but this is something I think we can laugh about already.”

“They don’t know how much pace I have in the car, right, when they tell me this is the fastest lap, don’t bother, but I knew that I could do it.

“So yeah, I just had to keep it within the white lines but this is something I think we can laugh about already.

“I was laughing about it with Helmut after the race so I’m pretty sure that they’re quite happy.”

Addressing his track limit violations at Turns 5 and 10, Verstappen acknowledged his errors but downplayed their significance. 

READ: George Russell breaks silence on Lewis Hamilton incident

He explained that he had struggled with the harder tires and maintaining within the lines. 

Nevertheless, Verstappen claimed that after receiving the final warning, he ensured compliance, emphasising that it was not a significant issue.

Verstappen’s triumph in the Spanish Grand Prix earned him the maximum 26 points, further extending his lead in the Drivers’ standings to 53 points over his teammate Sergio Perez, who secured 12 points with a fourth-place finish.