Max Verstappen’s race engineer skips celebrations

Max Verstappen had a brake issue throughout the 2023 United States Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen’s race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase wasn’t around to celebrate the Dutchman’s victory on Sunday at the United States Grand Prix, something many pondered was because of yet another round of heated radio exchanges.

Starting from sixth after exceeding track limits in Q3 on his best lap, Verstappen made light work of George Russell, Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc.

The three-time World Champion was the first of the lead drivers to pit which saw him close rapidly on Lando Norris, whom he overtook for the race lead on Lap 28.

Unlike what most expected, the Dutchman failed to clear into the distance, as it was soon discovered that he was suffering from a brake issue.

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This allowed Norris and Lewis Hamilton remain within touching distance of the Red Bull driver, who complained about his brakes ovr the radio.

He later went onto shout at Lambiase, who spoke to him whilst the 26-year-old was in a braking zone.

The same thing happened a few laps later, after Verstappen insisted that he isn’t spoken to whilst braking.

It was yet another heated exchange between the pair, who clearly have a love-hate relationship.

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In the end, it was victory number 15 of the season, as a rapidly closing Hamilton failed to get on terms with the Red Bull driver in time.

It wouldn’t have mattered if he had, as Hamilton was disqualified after the race, as his floor didn’t meet the technical regulations.

During the usual cooldown lap congratulatory radio messages, Verstappen praised Lambiase for a good performance, before his race engineer confused many.

“See you on Friday,” Lambiase said to Verstappen over the radio after he’d won the race.

Some wondered if this was due to tensions between the pair; however, team principal Christian Horner revealed after the race that Lambiase had to rush to the airport to make his flight back to the UK.

“Well, you know it was not a code or anything like that, so the marital bliss between the two of them just rolls on,” Horner told Sky Sports F1.

“He’s had to rush back to the UK so he was rushing to catch a flight,” Horner continued. “So yeah, it used to be Helmut [Marko] that left the track early, now it’s the race engineer that’s straight out after the race.”

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Horner went onto admit that Verstappen did have a brake issue but that he was more than capable of managing it.

“He was managing a brake issue throughout the race,” Horner added. “You could hear, he wasn’t happy about the brakes.

“And when you’ve got that issue you are building in a bit of a margin. So I think all his focus was on that and he knew very well what the gap was and he was managing that.”