Max Verstappen bought his race engineer an ice cream to apologise for his strongly-worded radio messages at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix back in April, according to Red Bull team principal Christian Horner. Verstappen has gained a reputation for throwing mid-race tantrums when things are not going his way and lived up to his billing at Imola as he fought Charles Leclerc for victory in the sprint to secure pole position.
Verstappen was left frustrated during the 21-lap contest despite eventually coming out on top and snapped back at his race engineer, Gianpiero Lambiase, for speaking too much in the corners via team radio. Horner has since revealed that Verstappen felt compelled to make up for his outburst by treating Lambiase to an ice cream after the on-track action had concluded. “Max recognised he’d maybe been a bit sharp, went to find him, got him an ice cream and apologised,” Horner told the Evening Standard. “Max just wants to win, so I don’t have any issues with it as long as it’s channelled in a positive manner.”
It remains to be seen whether Verstappen will eventually be able to temper his mid-race frustrations as he continues to mature and develop as a driver over the coming months and years. He did not shy away from making his feelings known at the last time of asking at the Spanish Grand Prix due to a DRS problem that left him stuck behind George Russell for a large part of the race that he eventually won in Barcelona.
Lambiase was on the receiving end of another verbal assault from Verstappen in Spain, which resulted from the 24-year-old’s anger at the situation rather than any personal grievances with his Red Bull colleagues. Martin Brundle opined after the chequered flag that Verstappen still has plenty to work on in order to conduct himself in the right manner when behind the wheel in spite of his clear racing ability that saw him clinch last year’s Drivers’ Championship title at the expense of Lewis Hamilton.
“Max’s 24th victory, matching the great [Juan Manuel] Fangio, wasn’t his finest,” wrote Brundle in his post-race column for Sky Sports. “Partly due to a malfunctioning DRS rear wing flap, also a trip through the Turn Four gravel when a gust of wind caught him out, and furthermore twice being let through by team-mate Sergio Perez.
“Max was clearly angry on the radio at his team when the DRS wouldn’t work, which was hindering his passing of the ever-impressive Russell in the Mercedes. This tells us two things. “He’s rather fed up with a catalogue of reliability issues as the team have taken time to finesse and get their new car up to full speed, and down to the weight limit. “Secondly his temper still has a relatively short fuse, as we saw for example in the brake testing of Hamilton in Saudi Arabia last year, which he has otherwise learned to control well in his quest for victories and a first world championship.”