Lewis Hamilton says he was surprised to find he was only fifth in the Singapore GP, having initially thought that he’d made it up to third-place.
Hamilton was one of four leading cars not to pit under the safety car, and thus dropped back when he made a later stop under green. He then followed Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg past cars that were struggling on older tires, although Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen remained out of reach.
“I was really surprised at the end. I didn’t know what position I was in,” he said. “I thought I was third. When I came across the line I thought that was some good points, but then they told me and I was seriously gutted. It was a tough race and I’m absolutely shattered.
“I was quite quick. Inevitably, it would have been even better if I’d qualified further ahead, but the others did a better job.”
Hamilton admitted that he found it hard to understand how the strategy unfolded.
“It was interesting that I stayed out and then everyone pitted,” he said. “Fernando was right up my tail. It was very difficult to keep him behind, and I think that was the turning point in the race.
“I wonder how Kimi came from where he did – jeez, that was incredible.”
Meanwhile, he doesn’t expect Mercedes close the gap to Vettel and Red Bull.
“Definitely not,” Hamilton said. “We might be able to get some wins. In qualifying Nico was obviously very close. It looks like they’ve taken another step this weekend. It’s going to be very difficult, but we’ll give it our best shot. At the end of the day we need to do a better job for next year, both with the car and also at the track in terms of what we do in terms of preparation and all those things.
“Now it’s just about having fun for the rest of the year and trying to see if we can get ahead of Ferrari.”