Lewis Hamilton admitted he was surprised to find he had finished 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 Nico Rosberg past cars that were struggling on older tyres, 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.”
Lewis admitted that he found it hard to understand how the strategy unfolded.
“I wonder how Kimi came from where he did – jeez, that was incredible.
“It was interesting that I stayed out and then everyone pitted. Fernando was right up my tail. It was very difficult to keep him behind, and that was really the turning point I think in the race.”
He also made it clear that there was some confusion over tyre choice: “There was a night and day difference between the option and the prime. On the prime we were just sliding around a lot. I wanted in the race to pit for options, and they pitted me for primes.”
Meanwhile he doesn’t expect Mercedes to close the gap to Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull.
“Definitely not. 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.”