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Red Bull Racing

Radio transcript: Verstappen disobeying team orders during Saudi GP

A transcript from the final laps of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix shows Red Bull requested Max Verstappen to slow down several times before he went on to set the fastest lap at the end of the race.

Red Bull told Max Verstappen several times to reduce his pace in the closing stages of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, before going on to set the fastest lap of the race.

New transcripts from the last 15 laps of the Grand Prix reveal the dialogue between Verstappen and his engineer Gianpiero Lambiase.

The Dutchman was chasing teammate Sergio Perez in second place, when on Lap 36 he asked the team to check his car after hearing a problem with the driveshaft.

Red Bull had already changed his driveshaft after a failure in qualifying, and also elected to revert back to a previously used gearbox on the morning of the race.

Perez also reported a problem to his engineer Hugh Bird with his brakes, which was concerning after Alex Albon had just retired with brake failure.

Verstappen and Perez encounter problems

Lap Verstappen Perez
35 VER: I keep losing the rear. Am I dragging the rear too much on entry? HB: 32.2 for Max. Gap 4.4
GP: Ok standby
GP: Negative Max
36 VER: I feel like the driveshaft is running a bit rough. PER: I'm starting to feel some vibrations from the rear axle
GP: It's just the B-Bal offset Max, can't do anything more on the B-Bal itself HB: Ok copy that Checo. And we've got 14 laps remaining
VER: I said driveshaft
GP: Ok standby
VER: It makes like a weird noise at high speeds
37 GP: We are happy at the moment Max. Happy at the moment HB: 32.3 for Max. Gap 4.5

Verstappen ignores team

After reporting the problem Verstappen was told to target a 1:33.0 on Lap 39, which was over half a second slower than his previous lap.

Perez's engineer also relayed the same instruction as it appears the team elected to manage the race pace given the reliability issues they were encountering.

When told five times by his engineer between Lap 39 and 43, Verstappen does not respond or confirm the instruction and continues to set times in the mid 1:32s.

What ensues is a somewhat heated exchange between Perez and his engineer, after being told Verstappen's lap times.

Verstappen eventually slowed the pace down from Lap 46, dropping into the 1:33s and - in his words - "calling it a day."

But after asking his engineer what the fastest lap was, the Dutchman went on to set the fastest lap of the race at the chequered flag.

It gave Verstappen an extra point and crucially prevented Perez from taking the championship lead, in a race weekend the Dutchman felt he should have won after leading every practice session.

Last 10 laps of Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

Lap Verstappen Perez
39 GP: Ok Max that was track limits for Turn 23 again. We will like to target a 33.0. 33.0. HB: Ok back to target now. So we're just covering Fernando he is doing 33.1
GP: Max any more feedback on that issue from before? PER: Sorry repeat
VER: Well it's still there HB: Target lap time 33.0. Max targetting the same. For reference that is +0.8 on the dash. +0.8.
GP: Ok understood. Ok target 33.0. 33.0 PER: I'm having a bit of a long brake pedal
40 GP: That's 33.0 HB: Yeah copy we're having a look
GP: Max, confirm 33.0
41 GP: 33.0. 33.0 HB: Target 32.6. +0.4
PER: Is Max doing the same?
HB: Max's last lap is 32.6
PER: Then why did you tell me 33:0?
HB: Just target plus four, jobs a good'un
PER: We are pushing without a reason guys, not smart to do
42 HB: Your lap 32.6. Max's lap 32.6
PER: Guys we don't really need this
HB: 8 laps to go
PER: Let's go. Let's go do 33.0
43 GP: Max can you target 33:0 please? PER: What is the gap?
HB: Gap is 4.3
PER: So are we pushing now?
HB: You're free to push. Free to push
45 GP: You have 5 laps remaining coming up. Gap is 5 HB: 5 laps to go. Target +0.8. Gap 5.5 seconds
VER: What's the fastest lap?
GP: We are not concerned about that at the moment Max HB: Max's last lap 33.0
VER: Yeah but I am
GP: So 32.1, 32.1
48 PER: What is the fastest lap at the moment?
HB: You've got the fastest lap. That's a 32.1
CF PER: Did we get the fastest lap in the end or?
HB: You were pipped on the last lap
PER: Ah, great! Aha!

F1 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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