Romain Grosjean admits he allowed himself to think that a breakthrough Formula 1 victory was on the cards in the Japanese Grand Prix.
The Frenchman made a quick getaway from third on the grid and demoted both Red Bulls to take control of the race, a position he maintained until the 41st of the 53-lap race.
Grosjean made good progress in his opening stints on the medium tires, but he felt a switch to the harder compound on lap 30 suffocated any chance of victory.
"I thought today was going to be the day that my first victory was coming," he said. "We were quick on the medium tires, but unfortunately the car was less good on the hards."
Sebastian Vettel reeled in Grosjean during the closing phase of the race and took the lead on lap 41, with teammate Mark Webber closing in on the Lotus driver soon after.
"It was nice with Mark at the end," remarked Grosjean, "but I couldn't pull away from him on the hard tires as they began degrading. In our strategy meeting, though, we never thought we could beat the Red Bulls today and we are where expected to be.
"It was nice until the end – we caught some slow cars and they blocked me quite a lot."