Max Verstappen has joked that his irritable messages over the radio to his team at the 2022 Bahrain Grand Prix did not reach the peak that some of his previous frustrations have.
Verstappen was involved in a thrilling battle with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc during the Bahrain Grand Prix last weekend as he attempted to use the undercut to gain an advantage.
However, he was told to restrain himself on his out-laps due to the attrition on the tyres caused by the bumpy, heavily loaded Bahrain International Circuit and, despite his valiant efforts, he was beaten by the Monegasque.
The Dutchman was not impressed at being told to take the cautious approach.
“Okay, this is now two times that I take it easy on the out lap that when I could have easily been in front. I’m never, ever doing it again,” he exclaimed over the radio.
He later told Sky Sports that he “could have been ahead twice” were he given licence to push, but team principal Christian Horner reckons that, given the pace offset to Ferrari, Leclerc would have breezed back ahead of his fellow 24-year-old anyway.
“I think it’s always a fine margin,” Horner said in conversation with Sky.
“He [Verstappen] felt that he could have done more, and I think that, combined with a slightly quicker stop, but then the Ferrari had put us very, very close to them.
“But, even if we’d have made the pass, I think their pace was such that – with overtaking being a little bit easier now – they would have just overtaken. They just had a quicker car today, so congrats to them on their 1-2 finish.”
In the end, a shattering late double reliability failure put both Verstappen and team-mate Sergio Perez out of the race, but the Milton Keynes side has established that a vacuum issue was the cause, and they do not expect it to recur.
Nonetheless, walking away from Bahrain empty-handed was a chagrining blow for the team, and the Briton is aiming to bounce back resolutely.
“Zero points for us is tough,” he added.
“I think the positive we can take is we’ve had a competitive car. We were fighting for the race win at different points of that race, and we’ve got to get on top of these issues quickly.
“It’s a long, long season, 23 races. We’ll get this behind us, [and] get stuck into the next event.”
As for Verstappen’s messages, he jovially suggested that he has “been angrier before,” and stated that he always speaks his mind when in the car.
“I don’t hold back, I say what I think in the car, and I was unhappy with what we were doing or the balance of the car I had with the strategy,” he explained.
Gianpiero Lambiase, also known as GP, has been Verstappen’s race engineer since his arrival into the team as an 18-year-old in 2016, and the pair have therefore developed a contiguous relationship, so the British-Italian knows not to take the outbursts personally.
“It was not necessarily directly to GP, because I have a really good relationship with him, but of course he’s the only one I can talk to. But yeah, we have to analyse quite a few things,” said Verstappen.
Verstappen ended both free practice sessions on Friday in Saudi Arabia second fastest behind Leclerc, and it would appear it will again be those two teams fighting for supremacy this weekend in Jeddah.