Max Verstappen admits that he cannot see himself without race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase – better known as GP – playing a supportive role by his side in F1.
Verstappen has worked with GP throughout his time at Red Bull, beginning with his memorable debut weekend for the team at the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix, a race in which Verstappen claimed his debut victory in Formula 1.
"I got to Red Bull and they said, 'This is your race engineer'. And I was like, 'Okay, we'll just get on with it!'" Verstappen told Channel 4.
"It was my first weekend, and of course, that was already a crazy weekend. Since then, we always work together."
How the race engineer plays a key role
Verstappen admits that the role of a race engineer can be crucial when it comes to understanding what the driver wants, and this is something that he credits GP with doing well.
"What I think is very important with the race engineer [is when] you don't even need to say anything," the World Champion explained.
"He knows exactly what you want, or what you need, from a car, and he can see that already from the way I'm driving the car. That, over the years, I think has developed really well."
The relationship with GP works so well for Verstappen that he would struggle to see himself with a different race engineer.
"For me, I cannot see myself, let's say, without GP on my side as an engineer," he continued.
"Because it is super important to have that good connection and [to] click, basically, to get all the performance out."
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Verstappen enjoys seeing GP's "fiery" side
GP is often heard speaking calmly to Verstappen over the team radio, even in moments where Verstappen himself may be becoming frustrated or vocal.
However, the driver enjoys the occasional moment where his engineer may lose his cool a little.
"I do have to say, sometimes the Italian side comes out a bit," Verstappen laughed.
"Which I like, because then he gets triggered a bit, and then he's on fire. I like that."
Why being criticised helps Verstappen
Verstappen admits that he does not mind this kind of dynamic where he may be criticised and vice versa.
"I think it's good, because he should be able to tell me off and I should be able to tell him off," the 24-year-old added.
many people actually appreciate that, but I always said that from the
start, that that's how I like to work, and he seems to appreciate it as
"Afterwards as well, we can laugh about it, and just enjoy it."
Verstappen feels that GP's ability to point out where he needs to improve in this way is a crucial aspect of his role.
"If he is not doing that any more, then at one point, you will start to miss the little details, which at the end of the day will make you good or successful," he said.
"So I demand that that has to be said, because you're never perfect, you never will be perfect, so you can always improve."
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