Verstappen explains how he ‘angered’ Red Bull engineer in Bahrain GP
Max Verstappen was repeatedly told off by his “angry” Red Bull race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase despite cruising to the most dominant of victories at Bahrain Grand Prix. Red Bull made the perfect start to the 2023 F1 campaign with searing pace as the Dutchman took the chequered flag with ominous ease.
Defending champion Verstappen finished 12 seconds ahead of his Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez and over half a minute clear of Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso. That Verstappen was also managing a minor issue with downshifts during the race only emphasised the chasm with Red Bull’s rivals on the opening weekend.
Red Bull were wary of straining their engine with the problem, especially as their two drivers were so far ahead of the chasing pack.
And Verstappen, who instinctively was looking to clock fast laps in his dominant new car, was warned on the radio by engineer Lambiase not to risk damage before future races.
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“After that first stint I just drove home,” the 25-year-old told ViaPlay. “Of course, I had a big gap right away and after that we didn’t really need to push anymore.
“Every time I wanted to push a bit, GP – my engineer – got angry, so of course that says enough about today. Of course I’m very happy, it’s obviously a top start to the season and a very different start to last year.”
Inevitably, Verstappen and Red Bull’s dominance in Bahrain has led to concerns that there is little chance of competition at the front of the grid this season. No team could live with Red Bull and Charles Leclerc was frustratingly forced to retire with an engine failure when running in third for Ferrari.
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But Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has urged caution and wants F1 fans to “reserve judgement” before the picture becomes clearer in future races, despite the dream weekend for his team.
“It can change very quickly – look at last year how things turn around, Mercedes came from a long way back and they had a winning car at the end of the year with that concept,” Horner told Sky Sports.
“Ferrari unlucky with Charles today, but a different circuit in Jeddah – I think we need to wait to see a sample of two or three races, not one track. So, let’s reserve judgement until a few races in the championship.”
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