Fernando Alonso conceded he spent the entire Dutch Grand Prix "thinking of the worst" as he battled the unknowns of Zandvoort to take a stirring sixth for Alpine.
The Spaniard started the race ninth but made up vital positions at the start, going around the outside of team-mate Estaban Ocon at the banked third corner.
Alpine's strategy allowed Alonso to reel in countryman Carlos Sainz's Ferrari for sixth on the final lap of the race to continue his impressive form on race days.
Speaking to Sky Sports F1, Alonso explained he was: "Aggressive from the first lap.
"We knew that was the biggest opportunity," he added.
"Probably overtaking Carlos in that last lap was not expected because the Ferrari, we thought that they were much in front, but P6 I think was the maximum.
"It was a challenge because even if the car felt okay, you didn't know what, in 10 laps, the balance would be because we had no reference, no 'last year's race', no free practice - not enough runs.
"You are always thinking of the worst and trying to be pessimistic, trying to drive conservative and take care of the tyres but at one point you are racing and had to attack. It was a challenge for everybody but a nice event I think."
Alonso "enjoying" despite Saturday struggles
Alonso's racecraft has been hailed as the best on the grid by Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel, whilst Lewis Hamilton was also complimentary of his former team-mate after their duel in Hungary.
Despite relishing the excitement of race days, Alonso is still striving for more gains in qualifying.
"Yeah I am enjoying," he said. "Saturday I still need some performance and there are some Q3 laps I can still improve one or two tenths, but on Sunday, I am basically enjoying more.
"Let's see at Monza, it is going to be a good atmosphere I guess with all the Tifosi so I'm looking forward."