Lewis Hamilton was "really, really grateful" for a Qatar Grand Prix win that closed the gap at the top to eight points, but Max Verstappen is pleased to be pushed all the way for his first Formula 1® title.
Hamilton is bidding for a record-breaking eighth championship but has work to do to reel in leader Verstappen.
The Briton followed up his Losail pole with victory on Sunday, although Verstappen recovered from seventh – following a grid penalty – to finish second and take the fastest lap, limiting the damage as much as possible.
It was ultimately a day both men could enjoy, even if Verstappen's penalty meant the only real jeopardy for Hamilton was avoiding the fate of others in the field who saw their tyres punctured.
"It was pretty straightforward. It's pretty lonely at the front," Hamilton said. "Of course, I enjoy those races where you're battling through, but we needed those points today.
"It was a really solid job from the team with pit stops and with the car.
"I can't wait to watch the replay of the race to see what happened behind me. I'm not really sure why people's tyres were going – I'm sure it's the kerbs.
"But I'm really, really grateful for these points. It's been a hell of a year, so to be at this point in the year and have back-to-back wins is a great, great feeling. It puts us in good stead for the next two."
Verstappen added: "Of course our starting position was a bit compromised, but luckily we had a really good start. From there, I was quite quickly back into second.
"At the end of the day, to get that fastest lap was very nice. I know it's going to be difficult to the end, but I think that's nice. It keeps it exciting."