Gianpiero Lambiase recalls his first impression of “incoming superstar” Max Verstappen

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Photo Credits Red Bull Content Pool

Red Bull Racing’s Gianpiero Lambiase – aptly nicknamed G.P. – has been alongside Max Verstappen as his race engineer since 2016. Lambiase spoke towards the end of last year about his first meeting with the now three-time F1 Drivers’ World Champion. As the wait for the new F1 season continues, his remarks are a reminder to Verstappen’s rivals as to the qualities of the three-time F1 Drivers’ World Champion.


In November last year, Max Verstappen and Gianpiero Lambiase spoke to Red Bull Racing podcast ‘Talking Bull’ about the relationship the two of them have. Having had over 160 races together it was hardly a surprise to hear Verstappen explain that he would be against swapping race engineers as they ‘are very crucial in your performance’. For his part, Lambiase explained that he feels Verstappen could be himself around him and ‘there’s no tiptoeing around any issues at all if we have to be blunt about something with each other we will be.’


Of course, the relationship wouldn’t have started like this so it was fascinating to hear Lambiase’s remarks to the New York Times around the same time.

Lambiase recalled Verstappen’s arrival at the team after he had already made a name for himself as the youngest ever F1 rookie with Toro Rosso in 2015 before then moving across from the sister Red Bull team in the early stages of the 2016 F1 season.

“The only thing I’d heard was that he had a bit of a reputation in terms of being this incoming superstar,” explained Lambiase when recalling his first impression of Verstappen. “Meeting him for the first time, I remember he came to the factory for three days on the simulator.

“That was quite an intense schedule of running to make sure he was up to speed with all of our operations and procedures, getting a feel for the race preparation for Barcelona, maybe giving him a little bit of a qualifying sim, and he just picked up everything immediately the first time.

“So that was actually, in itself, a little bit intimidating from my perspective. For him, it was just a case of ‘Who is this guy? Just another engineer I need to work with’. But we got on well.”

Max Verstappen certainly arrived with an impact. The man who already held the title as the youngest driver to ever start a Grand Prix – at 17 years and 166 days – then won his first race for the Milton-Keynes based racing outfit after a memorable drive in Barcelona at the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix. This ensured he was the youngest driver to win an F1 race – at 18 years and 228 days.

Fast forward 7 years and Verstappen now has 54 victories to his name as well as his 3 F1 Drivers’ Championships. As the Dutchman’s success has grown, so too has his relationship with Lambiase as he is clearly within the inner circle of Red Bull Racing’s talismanic driver.

“It’s not like he’s the kind of person that will open up immediately to everyone. He’s got quite a close circle around him, but as soon as you’re in that circle, he’s a super guy. We can now talk about anything, anyone at any time, really open with each other, and the trust and the honesty we have in our relationship is fundamental to that success.” confirmed Lambiase.

The success looks set to continue for some time to come with the fact that Verstappen currently has a deal in place until the end of the 2028 F1 season with Red Bull Racing – the team dominating the world of F1 at present.

With that in mind, would the Lambiase and Verstappen partnership continue for the same time? “It will continue for as long as the team wants me to work with Max, and Max wants me to work with him.” stated Lambiase.

Lambiase, has made a real name for himself and when someone mentions Verstappen in conversation, his name is not too far behind. Lambiase described his role as the conduit between what the driver is hopefully feeling with the car and what the raw numbers say that the strategists are churning away at and crunching out. At present the pair of them are crunching out victory after victory and look set to do so for many more races to come.