Kimi Raikkonen backed Ferrari's decision to give up track position and pit under the German Grand Prix safety car, saying an attempt to hold onto first place could have ended in "disaster". Raikkonen went on to finish third behind the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.
Hamilton dived out of a pit-stop when the race was neutralised by Sebastian Vettel's crash on lap 51 of 67, following Raikkonen in another tour of the Hockenheimring.
Raikkonen eventually did pit, emerging behind both Silver Arrows, having put 39 laps into a set of soft tyres.
Raikkonen could not make inroads on Bottas as they battled on similarly fresh ultrasofts, but played down the prospect of him having been able to keep the Mercedes pair behind him, had Ferrari kept him out.
Reflecting on a 106th grand prix since his last win, Raikkonen said: "It's always easy to say afterward but honestly, we don't know what would happen if we stayed out.
"I'm 100 per cent sure that the ultras worked better plus I had very used tyres at that point already but I can't give an answer if it would have been just fine or a complete disaster, so that's always an unknown and you try to weigh up the differences and hope that the new tyres will give you some grip to come back.
"Obviously we knew that the Mercedes will be on one of the aged tyres but they seemed to be the right decision in those conditions so I don't have an answer, I don't think anybody would have an answer what the end result if we stayed out or not.
"Who knows. That's how it goes."
After pitting early, Raikkonen was in the lead of the race after all leaders completed their stops, ahead of pole-sitting team-mate Vettel, who took to the radio to complain that Raikkonen was holding him up.
Raikkonen was eventually asked to let Vettel past, but the Finn had to make the team spell out what they wanted.
"We have certain rules but it wasn't clear enough," Raikkonen said. "I had speed and obviously it was a bit in a moment in the race.
"In the end, it didn't change an awful lot. It was a tricky race with the rain and it was pretty slippery in a few places."