Lewis Hamilton has said he didn't expect to fall down to fifth place when he was called into the pits to change tyres near the end of the Turkish Grand Prix.
Having initially gone against his team's instruction to pit for a fresh set of Intermediates, Hamilton looked set to try getting to the chequered flag on the same tyres he started the race on.
However, with the pace slipping away, as those on fresh Intermediates pulled clear, Mercedes pitted third-placed Hamilton for new Intermediates on Lap 50. He then spent most of the remaining eight laps going through a graining phase, and wasn't able to regain any positions after falling to fifth.
A series of angry radio messages were to follow, with Hamilton questioning the decision to pit. After the race, he explained that he didn't expect to fall back so far.
"I didn't know at that time, but I could have probably assumed that I would lose... the guys were only 15 seconds behind, it's a 24-second pit-stop, so I knew that I'd lose, perhaps, one [places]," he admitted to Sky Sports.
Asked whether he felt the tyres could have made it to the end of the race, he said, "[Esteban] Ocon's did, I heard, so I assume they probably could."
Due to having to go through the graining phase and not reap the benefits of the fresh tyres towards the end of the race, a circumspect Hamilton mournfully reflected on what could have been.
"It felt good to be in third and I was like, 'If I can just hold on to this, this is a great result from 11th'," he said.
"Fifth was worse, but it could be worse."
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