Kimi Raikkonen said there was no point in fighting Fernando Alonso when the Ferrari star made his crucial pass to win the Spanish Grand Prix.
Three-stopping Raikkonen led four-stopper Alonso in their penultimate stints at Barcelona, when both had one pit stop left to make, but Alonso used his fresher tires to overtake Raikkonen and pull well clear before the final stops.
When asked if he thought that victory had been possible, Lotus driver Raikkonen replied: "Maybe halfway through, when we were leading, but we were on old tires and [he had] newer tires.
"It is too easy to overtake, so no point to really fight again because you cannot hold him behind. I knew if I could somehow stay a bit closer, maybe I had some chance, even if I am already behind them with old tires. But in the end, they were just too fast."
Raikkonen pointed to his poor opening lap, when he dropped a place to Alonso at Turn 3, as a moment that shaped his race.
"We didn't have a good start, but I don't think the end result was decided there. It wasn't the win, and we are only happy with the win, but [in the championship] we are close with Vettel. Fernando has caught me, but we are still in the hunt and hopefully we can try and win a bit more."
Raikkonen is now just four points behind Vettel in the championship, and is looking forward to future battles as he aims to win his second world title.
"Sometimes you have bad days and make the most out of them and give yourself a chance to fight for wins," he said. "If you can do that often you will have a good chance in the end to fight for the championship. Only five races done... we will see what happens and see where we are at the end."