Christian Horner has described Max Verstappen’s defending from Nico Rosberg in the closing stages of the Canadian Grand Prix as “impressive”, with the Red Bull driver forcing the Mercedes man into a mistake.

Verstappen was initially running in third place on a one-stop strategy but he had to pit again after his soft tyres degraded too quickly.

Having dropped to fourth, the Dutchman then came under huge pressure from a charging Rosberg, but managed to hold off the DRS-aided Mercedes on the back straight by covering the inside line at the final chicane.

The championship leader launched another attempt in the same spot on the penultimate lap but ended up spinning after going on the outside of the Red Bull.

“It was great racing from Max,” Horner said. “He was determined to hold on to his fourth place. He positioned the car well and it was just great racing.

“It was impressive how he defended against Rosberg.”

Lining up ahead of Verstappen on the grid, Daniel Ricciardo immediately lost out to his team-mate at the start and from that moment on endured a frustrating afternoon to finish seventh.

“We’ve underscored with Daniel,” commented the Red Bull team principal. “We certainly could have been a place or so higher.

“I think he only had one clear lap the whole race. He was stuck behind Max in the first stint, went one lap longer then came out behind Kimi [Raikkonen].

“He was biding his time until Kimi pitted again with Valtteri [Bottas] relatively under control behind. He then started to push to break the DRS zone but unfortunately, he locked the tyre at the final chicane, had a big flat spot.

“We had no alternative but to pit him. Had his degradation been OK, he could have stayed ahead of Valtteri.”

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