Sebastian Vettel believes he could have finished second in the Japanese Grand Prix had he managed to stay in front of Nico Rosberg in the second round of pitstops.
Vettel moved from fourth on the grid to second at the start, while Rosberg dropped to fourth place from pole position.
Rosberg eventually undercut his way past Vettel in the second round of pitstops after the Ferrari driver pitted later than the Mercedes.
Post-race, Vettel admitted the strategy proved to be a mistake that probably cost him second.
"I think we were surprised by the out-lap that he pulled," said Vettel. "I guess we thought the gap was big enough so you can say we made a mistake.
"In the end it's a bit of a shame when you cross the line because I think we could have stayed ahead and it would have been difficult for him to pass.
"It's not easy to get close. We saw he struggled for a long time with Bottas. So in the end we have to accept they were just a little bit quicker and for that reason they deserve to be ahead.
"But we had the chance. We could have done differently with hindsight, but with hindsight it's always easy."
Vettel was still encouraged by Ferrari's performance after finishing less than two seconds behind Rosberg.
"We responded well, and we have a good car today in the race," he said. "Not enough to be a real challenger, especially for Lewis, but there were no safety cars or anything and we were a lot closer than in previous races on that type of circuit.
"I think all in all there's plenty of reason to be happy."