Daniel Ricciardo believes a different tyre strategy would have given him a shot of a podium finish at the Mexican Grand Prix.
The Australian showed strong pace for the second race in succession with the Red Bull driver occupying fourth for long periods, before settling for fifth at the chequered flag.
Although in podium contention for much of the race, Ricciardo struggled for outright pace on the soft compound tyres compared to the mediums used in a longer middle stint.
However, a decision was made to fit the softs for the final stint after the late Safety Car, which the Perth driver feels in hindsight damaged his podium chances.
“It was a bit of a frustrating race,” said Ricciardo.
“During the first stint with the options we weren’t really quick enough.
“With the prime I thought I had really good pace, but once I caught the Williams I couldn’t pass them.
“We lost a lot of time there and in hindsight, when the Safety Car came out, I would have liked to put the primes on as I felt I was a lot more competitive with them than with the options.
“Maybe it would have given us a better chance of getting to the podium.”
Ricciardo’s fifth position came after escaping significant damage when he made contact with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel in an opening lap incident, which stewards decided warranted no further action.
The 26-year-old Ricciardo feels there was nothing he could have done to avoid the contact with Vettel that inflicted a puncture on the Ferrari.
“I was on the inside and he took the apex, so I had nowhere else to go,” added Ricciardo.
“We all sort of bunched up. I was there on the inside and didn’t feel like I could go anywhere else. He just basically took the apex as if I wasn’t there. I don’t know what else I could’ve done.”
Although angered by the contact initially, Vettel believes the clash was a racing incident after studying replays of the collision.
“Initially I was pretty angry because I have a puncture and the race is lost,” said Vettel.
“Looking at it now – it’s the start of the race, and I think it was correct not to take any action on it.
“I don’t think Daniel had anywhere to go. Equally he was trying but there was no gap really.
“It’s a very difficult judgement to make. I saw him in the very last second and tried to open (a gap) but by then it was already too late.
“Plus, he was too quick for the line he was trying to do, so we touched.
“You can’t do that on purpose so I’m not blaming him, but of course it was a shame for us.”