While Max Verstappen captured the headlines in 2023 for his unparalleled domination of Formula 1, much of the credit belongs to Gianpiero Lambiase.
More commonly known as GP, Lambiase is the calming voice heard over race radio, and is the man responsible for ensuring Verstappen has a car capable of winning races.
The Englishman studied mechanical engineering in London before finding a job in motorsport and from there worked his way into F1, eventually joining Red Bull for 2016.
”I happened to, quite randomly, get a job in Germany for a Formula 3 team, that was in 2004,” recounted Lambiase on the Talking Bull podcast.
“And then the owner of the Formula 3 team was part of the group that bought out Eddie Jordan, so my first year in Formula 1 was in 2005, as a data engineer at Jordan.”
He spent a decade with the Silverstone-based squad that became Force India and is today known as Aston Martin before his move to Milton Keynes.
At Red Bull, he became a race engineer, and in 2016 found himself tasked with a very young Verstappen as he joined mid-season in place of Daniil Kvyat.
Success for the relationship was immediate, the Dutchman winning on debut with the team in Spain and, in doing so, laid the groundwork for what has followed.
Together, the pair have learned and grown, winning 53 more times – with 19 of those coming this year alone.
“Maybe the biggest thing is almost learning how to win, I would say,” he said of what he’s learned from the now three-time world champion.
“His first race win was also my first race win.
“And whilst you have a level of confidence in belief in your work in practice, until you actually see that come through, there’s always a little bit of doubt about whether somebody else is doing better than you or you know what you’re missing out on etc.
“Being with Max and winning – because it wasn’t like, it was new to him in Formula 1, but it wasn’t prior to that – I think he relaxed me into the environment of being able to win races, making it comfortable and familiar thing, and I think we’ve just been able to grow from that.”
The relationship’s longevity is also important, a point acknowledged by both Lambiase and Verstappen, who’ve developed an almost intuitive understanding of one another.
That was galvanised during the tumultuous 2021 campaign that famously saw the championship battle go down to the final lap of the season.
Since then, Red Bull has found another gear, with Lambiase and Verstappen combining to capitalise in devastating fashion.
“No matter how many races we win, or how many championships we have won, or could win, I think the point is, I don’t think we’re ever happy,” Lambiase said.
“Our bar is so high. I’d say we’re both perfectionists in that respect, that nothing is ever good enough.
“That’s what really motivates us to just keep doing what we’re doing, following the process, and achieving the best that we can.”