Lewis Hamilton says he was surprised to see Red Bull's drivers behind him on fresh tyres during the safety car period in yesterday's Chinese Grand Prix.
Mercedes elected not to pit its drivers at the outset of the race's neutralization, but both Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen made the change which delivered an instant grip advantage to the Red bull duo.
Glancing in his mirrors as the field lined up behind the safety car, a surprised Hamilton radioed in to his Mercedes crew.
"Is it me or are there drivers behind me on fresh tyres," he asked.
The answer spelled trouble for the reigning world champion.
"I don't know if anyone was expecting them to be as quick as they were, after the safety car I stayed out," he said.
"Initially I was like 'okay this is good, I'm now right behind Seb, and maybe I have a chance, maybe there's a little bit of battle we can have to the end'.
"And I looked in my mirrors and the Red Bulls were right behind me on brand new tyres so I was like 'how the hell did that happen'."
Hamilton chose not to dwell on the matter, but admitted Mercedes had made the wrong decision.
"It doesn't matter now, it's done," he said.