Sebastian Vettel admits it was frustrating to slip from P2 to P5 in the space of a few corners in China, but says his hands were tied due to their two-stop strategy.
After starting in 11th place on the grid and then slipping to P15 following a poor start, Vettel managed to make his way through traffic and found himself in second place on lap 52 with only four laps to go.
However, he was always going to battle to hold onto the place as his tyres were pretty shot during the latter stages of the race due to the two-stopper and it was only a matter of time before he was overtaken by the McLaren duo of Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton as well as his team-mate Mark Webber.
It was déjà vu vu for the defending World Champion as he was a similar position in 2011 as he was also on a two-stopper only to lose out on a race win to Hamilton who visited the pits three times.
"I think it was the same here last year," said Vettel.
"It was a bit different, but the last five laps were the same - people from behind eating me up as I had no tyres left.
"You try to get them back to life, get a little bit more out of them, but they were pretty dead. I tried to react with brake balance, diff, everything I had, but there was nothing I could have done.
"A shame because the podium was so close and yet so far. Nevertheless, good points and a good recovery from 15th."
Vettel, though, was quick to put his hand up after his poor start.
"I think I missed out a little bit on the start," he said.
"I was a bit too late. I wasn't entirely happy finding the revs and I was a bit confused. Usually I'm pretty quick when the lights go off, but today I think I was one of the last ones. I didn't wake up enough.
"Then I was behind the Williams and at Turn 1 they crashed into each other a little bit and I had to hit the brakes and I didn't know what was going to happen. Then I lost another couple of positions - I nearly lost a position to Heikki Kovalainen in the Caterham so I think it was a really bad stage on the first lap. With the strategy we managed to kind of come back."