The leading contender in the world championship, Max Verstappen, sparked amusement during the Spanish Grand Prix’s second practice. His reaction to a radio message about his run plan involved identifying a ringtone emanating from the garage.
Verstappen recognized the ringtone as one associated with Helmut Marko, Red Bull’s motorsport advisor.
“Whose phone is that ringing? Is it Helmut’s?” Verstappen inquired.
The confirmation from his team induced laughter, and team principal Christian Horner regarded this as a testament to the exceptional performance level Verstappen is currently achieving. His ability to discern such minute details while intensely driving an F1 car left an impression.
Horner reflected on Verstappen’s evolution from his initial F1 victory in Barcelona in 2016 to his current dominance in the field. He remarked, “Back in 2016, he was tremendously fast, intensely raw, and naturally gifted.
“He still possesses that innate speed and extraordinary ability. However, he now also brings experience, maturity, and enhanced mental capacity to the table.
“When he can identify Helmut Marko’s phone ringing from inside his car, it demonstrates his expanded capacity, which elevates his performance to a higher level. And what’s even more exciting is that he continues to improve.”
Christian Horner and Max Verstappen, both from Red Bull Racing, celebrate their first-place victory in Parc Ferme.
Photo Credit: Steven Tee / F1 Flow Images
Conversations between Verstappen and his engineer, Gianpiero Lambiase, aren’t always jovial. The Dutch driver appeared to disregard a request not to strive for the fastest lap during the Spanish Grand Prix’s closing stages.
After receiving a warning for breaching track limits, Lambiase felt that the risk of pushing hard and potentially receiving a penalty for an additional point wasn’t justified. Despite this, Verstappen decided to pursue and successfully achieved the fastest lap.
Horner didn’t view this incident as problematic. Instead, he compared the rapport between the driver and his engineer to that of a long-married couple.
Horner explained, “His engineer was merely informing him about the potential penalty risk if he pushed too hard on the fastest lap.
“Their relationship resembles a long-married couple’s, frequently debating minor details. But Max was fully in control. He understood the risks yet managed to secure the fastest lap effortlessly with the tires he had on the car.”
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Max Verstappen’s Performance
What does Christian Horner say about Max Verstappen’s performance?
Christian Horner, the team principal of Red Bull Racing, acknowledges that Max Verstappen’s performance has reached another level. He mentions that Verstappen’s ability to recognize a phone ringtone from within the car demonstrates his enhanced mental capacity and attention to detail while driving. Horner also highlights Verstappen’s growth since his debut in F1, mentioning his natural speed, talent, and now, the added experience and maturity that make him even more formidable on the track.
How does Christian Horner describe the relationship between Verstappen and his engineer?
Christian Horner likens the relationship between Max Verstappen and his engineer to that of an old married couple. He mentions that they often engage in debates and discussions, similar to deciding which TV channel to watch. Despite the occasional differences, Horner emphasizes that Verstappen remains in control and showcases impressive performance, even when aware of potential risks or penalties.
What incident occurred during the Spanish Grand Prix involving Verstappen and his engineer?
Towards the end of the Spanish Grand Prix, Max Verstappen’s engineer, Gianpiero Lambiase, advised him not to go for the fastest lap due to the risk of receiving a penalty for track limit breaches. However, Verstappen disregarded this advice and went on to secure the fastest lap despite already receiving a black-and-white flag. Christian Horner did not see any significant issue with this incident and attributed it to the nature of the relationship between driver and engineer.
How does Christian Horner summarize Max Verstappen’s progress in Formula 1?
Christian Horner reflects on Max Verstappen’s growth since his first F1 win in Barcelona in 2016. He describes Verstappen at that time as raw, incredibly fast, and naturally talented. However, Horner notes that Verstappen has now gained experience, roundedness, and increased mental capacity. This growth has placed Verstappen on another level of performance, and the most exciting aspect is that he continues to improve and refine his skills in the sport.