Max Verstappen has revealed his surprise at how Charles Leclerc was able to close up under virtual safety car conditions in the fight for victory at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
The reigning world champion had made his way past the Ferrari driver after a thrilling battle at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit but shortly after, Daniel Ricciardo and Fernando Alonso triggered a virtual safety car period.
When the neutralisation ended, Leclerc seemingly closed back up to the Red Bull, setting up a grandstand finish.
Asked if he was surprised by the shortening of the gap: "To be honest, I was a little bit surprised myself that it did look a little bit closer, but I don't know how close Charles was, of course to zero, you know, with the delta.
"That's always a bit of a question mark. But also, sometimes it depends a bit where the restart is: if it's in a corner for somebody in front or not.
"I think I was still on a bit more of the straight side and had a bit of a better run into turn four as well. So, it's a bit tricky."
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner suggested the pair were playing "cat and mouse" at the final DRS detection point.
Addressing the tactical battle, Verstappen explained: "You always try to of course have a good run with the DRS into the final zone, where then you have a lot of fast corners where you cannot pass so, of course, you know Charles played is very smart there, but also, it seemed like their defence/attack mode is very powerful.
"So, for me also, even more top speed. It was very hard to nail the overtake, but eventually, it worked."
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