Kevin Magnussen held up his hands and took the blame for a bad tyre choice that saw him slump from fourth to eighth in the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix's sprint race.
Haas driver Magnussen achieved the team’s best result in qualifying on Friday but he failed to capitalise after choosing the medium tyre on which to start the 21-lap event rather than the soft.
“I was super surprised to see everyone on soft [at the start]," said Magnussen. "We tried the soft in free practice and thought it would degrade so much, so when everyone else was on soft at the start I was a little nervous.
“We didn’t do a whole sprint race distance in practice on that tyre but we did 13 laps and it took a step around there of degradation. I judged that it would continue, but on everyone else after lap 13 it was kind of the same.
“It took a little step but then it stayed there and they were kind of just the same pace as me, so the soft tyre was the right tyre. I got that wrong. We live to fight another day.”
Magnussen chasing points on Sunday
Magnussen, who scored a point for finishing eighth in the sprint, will start the grand prix alongside the Alfa Romeo of Valtteri Bottas, with all the drivers from Ferraris, Red Bull and McLarens ahead.
Despite the disappointing slump, he remained positive, adding: “They obviously overtook me in the first part of the race because they were faster, then towards the end it kind of evened out.
“Anyway, we scored a point, we are starting P8 for tomorrow’s race. Usually I think we are pretty happy with that, but nonetheless we’ve had a good weekend and I am looking forward to tomorrow. Hopefully, we will score more points."
Asked if the strong prediction of rain at Imola on Sunday afternoon could benefit him and Haas he replied “I’ll take whatever it is. We looked pretty happy in the rain, but I’m not speculating, it’s not really worth it.”