Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen (left) celebrates his second world championship with Red Bull engineers and pit crew at Suzuka AFP / Toshifumi KITAMURA

Red Bull Racing team boss Christian Horner has likened the relationship between two-time world champion Max Verstappen and his race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase to that of an "old married couple." The comment came after Horner was asked about whether the team had an issue with Verstappen disregarding advice given by his engineer over the team radio at the recently-concluded Spanish Grand Prix.

The coverage of Formula 1 races has become more and more dynamic and interactive in recent years, with fans getting a closer look at the action on track and in the paddock. More access to team radio conversations also gives a more in depth look at what goes on in the minds of the drivers and their race engineers.

On Sunday, Verstappen led the race at the Circuit de Catalunya from pole position all the way to the end, with hardly any challenge posed by the rest of the field. The two Mercedes cars of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell in P2 and P3 were more than 20 seconds behind for the most part, and the Dutchman barely had to push to maintain the advantage.

However, in the closing stages of the race, Lambiase warned him not to try to claim the fastest lap because he had already been given a black-and-white flag for exceeding the track limits. If he does so again, he will incur a penalty. However, anyone who has been following Verstappen knows that he will never let a single point get past him if the opportunity is available.

Despite the Red Bull's dominance this season, Verstappen is also well aware that anything can happen in such a long season. With his teammate Sergio Perez also keen on fighting for the world championship title, he knows that every point counts. Needless to say, he went for it and claimed that extra point.

A lot of people who heard the radio conversation questioned how the team reacted to the driver's decision to go against what his engineer said. Horner played down the issue, saying that it's a typical conversation between the two and there is no problem between them. "His engineer was just informing him of one more strike and it's a penalty, so not to take any risks in the fastest lap," said Horner, as quoted by

"The relationship they have is one like an old married couple, almost debating about which channel of television they should be watching. But Max was totally in control. He was aware of the risk and was still able to do the fastest lap quite comfortably with the tyres that he had on the car," he added.

Verstappen also spoke about the incident after the race, saying that he knew what he was capable of and did what he knew was best without taking an unnecessary risk. He even said that team advisor Helmut Marko was laughing about it with him after the race.

Verstappen on 'another level' in the car

Speaking of Marko, his mobile phone showed off Verstappen's impressive mental capacity to multi-task while sitting in the cockpit at high speed. During FP2 in Barcelona, he was again chatting on the team radio when he paused to mention that he could hear Marko's phone going off in the background.

"Someone's phone is going," said Verstappen. "Is that Helmut's?"

The team hilariously confirmed that the team advisor's phone was ringing, sending jaws dropping over how much detail Verstappen was able to pick out from a choppy team radio.

It is illegal to talk on the phone for ordinary people driving road cars in most places, and it is discouraged to do it even with a hands-free device. But such was the level of Verstappen's concentration that he could do it and pick out minute details at high speed.

Horner praised his driver's raw talent and how much he has honed his skills and developed over the years in the top level of racing. "I think in 2016 he was very raw. He was incredibly fast, hugely, and naturally talented. He still has that natural speed and tremendous ability. But I think what he has now is the experience, roundedness and the [mental] capacity," added Horner, while citing the anecdote about Marko's phone.