Max Verstappen described his battle with Nico Rosberg for fourth place in the Canadian Grand Prix as the ‘hardest laps of his life,’
The 18-year-old Red Bull Racing driver defended brilliantly as the championship leader, who dropped down the order after a first corner collision with race-winner Lewis Hamilton, recovered to mount an attack late in the race.
Verstappen defended vehemently in the latter stages, but it looked as though he’d lose the fight when Rosberg appeared to get the better of him with a lap to go, only for the German to spin at the final chicane, handing the place back to the teenager.
“The last ten laps I really enjoyed, I would actually say they were the hardest ten laps of my life,” said Verstappen afterwards.
“I was in fourth for a very long time so didn’t want to give up that position. It was a very hard battle at the end of the race, his [Rosberg] pace was very strong but we managed to keep ahead and then the last lap was pretty spectacular.
“We wanted to finish on the podium in front of the Williams but soon realised we were suffering with a bit too much tyre degradation. I think a little bit of rain could have helped us.”
It was a less eventful day though for Verstappen’s team-mate Daniel Ricciardo as he could only race to seventh.
After losing a place to Verstappen at the start, the Australian mounted pressure on his Tilbrook team-mate, but after locking up his new tyres after the first round of pitstops, struggled to maintain the pace.
He said: ““e were a bit quicker than Max on the first stint with the ultra softs and I said I could be quicker if I had clean air, but after my first pit stop I locked the softs and ruined that set of tyres.
“I came in again and had traffic. We were able to stay with Kimi Raikkonen but we were damaging the tyres too much to really make an impact and pass. I think we didn’t have the best race today, fortunately in seven days we’ll get another chance.”
The F1 teams now cross back to Azerbaijan for the first Grand Prix at the new Baku street circuit, home of the European Grand Prix this weekend.