Lando Norris was left wondering what might have been after finishing fifth at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix while midfield rivals Pierre Gasly and Sebastian Vettel secured spots on the podium.
Vettel and Gasly moved up the field after Max Verstappen crashed with five laps to go bringing out the red flags, and while Norris made up two places after the restart, he said the results of AlphaTauri and Aston Martin showed where McLaren could have been.
"In some ways I would loved to have been in the position that Seb was in and be P2, but they were very quick on the soft tyres at the end of their stint and carried them on for a very long time which was impressive, so fair play to him and to Aston," Norris told RacingNews365.com and other select media.
"I didn't have the best of first few corners. I'll review it, but I lost a few positions and that hurt us quite a bit for the rest of the race. Sometimes you can just be a bit unlucky, you can't go left and can't go right, so you go in the middle and get sandwiched. Sometimes it just doesn't go in your favour."
Norris was also handed a grid penalty for Sunday's race after he was judged to have failed to return to the pits under a red flag during qualifying, and he said that had also hindered any chance of a podium.
"Seeing Seb in P2 and Pierre in P3 gives us a glimpse that that could have been us if we were in a better position," Norris added. "But we'll take it, we started in P9, not the best of opening laps not because I felt I did a bad job but because of my positioning and so on.
"That just put us on the back foot. It was very difficult to overtake, between the top 10 the pace was quite similar and it was difficult to do too many different things.
"But apart from that I think we made the most of every opportunity we had from then on with the strategy, the pitstop getting ahead of Bottas and the restart at the end getting ahead of Hamilton and Tsunoda.
"So P5 I'm happy with, good amount of points and a bit of damage limitation I want to say, so I'm happy with today."