Max Verstappen admits that he feared he didn't have the pace to match Ferrari as he tried to keep Carlos Sainz behind him in the Canadian Grand Prix.
The Dutchman had Sainz on his tail during the latter stages of the event, but was able to hold his nerve and claim his sixth win of the season.
Despite this, Verstappen had some concerns about his speed in comparison to the Ferrari.
"It was a tough race," Verstappen told media, including RacingNews365.com.
"I expected to have a little bit more pace, but we seemed to lack a little bit compared to Carlos. That's the only one I could compare to with Ferrari.
"It was a bit more difficult than I expected."
Verstappen pleased with strategy call
Verstappen had a different strategy to Sainz, with Red Bull opting for a two-stop, while Sainz went for a one-stopper, meaning that Verstappen had to overtake him on track.
The 2021 World Champion stands by his team's call.
"We did our strategy, and I think, for us, it worked," he explained.
"That was the right one to do. At that second stop, of course, I had the fresher tyres, I was closing in on Carlos, but I was not sure if I actually would fully close that gap to the end of the race."
However, when a Safety Car was called following a crash for Yuki Tsunoda, Sainz was able to take another pit-stop and attack Verstappen with fresh rubber.
"Then the Safety Car came out, and I was not very happy with that," Verstappen added.
"Because then I knew he had fresh tyres behind me, and already with a little bit more pace compared to me, [and] that is difficult to defend [against].
"In the last 15, 16 laps, we were flat out, pushing to the limit, and I knew that I couldn't make a mistake, but it was good racing.
"It's always more enjoyable to be able to really push in a Formula 1 car instead of just saving your tyres."
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How Verstappen kept Sainz behind
Despite his concerns, Verstappen was able to maintain his position ahead of Sainz.
When asked how he had done this, the Dutch driver explained: "You always have to make sure that [at] the place where you have DRS [Drag Reduction System], you have a good exit at the corner before.
"But it was all about just really pushing to the limit, not making a mistake in general, because I knew even in Sector 1 if I would have made a tiny mistake, Carlos would gain a tenth on me.
"And that might have been enough to then get closer in the first DRS zone, and then in the second.
"It was proper racing, proper pushing. I had my moments, where I had a bit of oversteer, and then I looked in the mirror and saw Carlos having the same amount.
"So it was really on the edge, but that's good to see."
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