Max Verstappen was enthused by his late defending from the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz as the Red Bull driver took his sixth win of the season in Montreal.
Verstappen had started on pole ahead of Fernando Alonso and Sainz, with the Ferrari get past the Alpine after a few laps of running.
The Virtual Safety Car was deployed when Sergio Perez suffered a reliability failure, allowing Verstappen to pit as Sainz stayed out, but a similar problem for Mick Schumacher caused another caution period, so the 27-year-old responded with a stop of his own.
The result was that Sainz was chasing Verstappen down with much fresher tyres, and the Dutchman could not hold on to his tyres, so pitted again.
It was now Verstappen chasing Sainz for the lead, but the full Safety Car was deployed when Yuki Tsunoda crashed while exiting the pits, leading Sainz to pit again, and he had become the hunter for the final 15 laps of running.
Verstappen expertly held on to take victory and, while the final few laps were a little bit nervy for him, he thoroughly enjoyed keeping the Ferrari behind.
“The Safety Car didn’t help,” he told Jenson Button after the race.
“I think overall, they were very quick in the race, so it would have been very tough for me to close that gap to the end, even on fresher tyres.
“But yeah, it was really exciting at the end, I was giving it everything I had, of course Carlos was doing the same.
“Following is tricky around here but I could see he was pushing, charging, pushing but of course actually when you’re under DRS, it’s a bit easier to charge.
“The last few laps were a lot of fun, luckily this year we seem pretty quick on the straights so that helps a lot.”
The reigning champion acknowledges that catching the Ferrari under green flag conditions would have been tricky but, nonetheless, the Safety Car gave him a bit of unwanted stress.
“Overall, I think they were very strong in the race, so yes it would have been tricky to catch up,” explained Verstappen.
“But then of course, the Safety Car came out so they had fresher tyres, so then I was like ‘well, I think I would have preferred attacking instead of defending.’ But luckily, it worked out.”
Verstappen extended his lead in the Drivers’ Standings to 46 points over team-mate Perez with his sixth win of the season on Sunday.