Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton has explained the events of the formation lap at the race restart, where the reigning Champion ended up in the unusual situation of being the only driver to line up on the grid as every single driver behind him, including title rival Max Verstappen, dived into the pits.
Having made the call to start on the intermediate tyre as everyone else headed in for dry tyres, Hamilton initially ended up falling right to the very back of the field as he came in to the pits just a lap later.
"I was telling the team how the track was through the lap," he explained after the race.
!But they said the rain was coming at us when we got in the car, so I thought they had other information and I saw everyone diving in."
Having to fight to recover from the very back, an aggressive call from Mercedes to pit again on Lap 20 brought him back into contention due to his immediate pace enabling him to undercut Verstappen and McLaren's Daniel Ricciardo. A fighting drive from there almost brought him back into contention for the win, but a defensive masterclass from Alpine's Fernando Alonso just slowed him enough to prevent Hamilton from joining the lead battle.
"Today, it was definitely tough," Hamilton said.
"We made it, we always make it difficult for ourselves and crazy to think we were the only ones on the grid at the start but these things happen and we learn from them. I gave it everything, and I'd nothing left at the end."
With Hamilton taking the lead of the Driver's Championship after finishing in third on a day where Verstappen could only finish in 10th, the Mercedes driver was satisfied to lead into the summer shutdown.
"We came in this weekend definitely didn't know how it's gonna go and, considering the circumstances today, I'll take it."