Williams technical director Sam Michael was certain Nico Rosberg was set for a second-place finish at the Singapore Grand Prix before his penalty.
Rosberg, who had started the race from third position, was fighting for the lead with McLaren's Lewis Hamilton until he made a mistake when exiting the pits for the first time. The Williams driver crossed over the while line separating the pitlane from the track and received a drive-through penalty which dropped him out of contention.
Michael believes second place was Rosberg's, and he reckons the German could even have had a chance of fighting Hamilton for victory.
"Well, things can always get worse – as Frank Dernie used to say. Just when you think you are at the bottom they can get a lot worse. It is very annoying really," Michael said.
"Nico didn't put a foot wrong in practice or qualifying, and the race up until then, he made a small mistake that was very, very costly. It could have happened at any other time, but that's that."
He added: "Second was in the bag. Nico reckons he could have had a crack at Lewis but we would have had to have had a look at how it panned out in the next stints. I think Lewis pretty much had the measure of us."
Despite the disappointment, Michael believes some of the remaining circuits are likely to give Williams a chance of scoring its first podium of the season.
"We hope so. We definitely have an advantage on street circuits and always have done, maybe not to the extend we had here but we should be in the final 10 and maybe top five in Suzuka, and Abu Dhabi is like this so maybe that will give us a final shot."