Lewis Hamilton says the damp patch where he lined up on the starting grid was not to blame for his poor start, rather he “made a mistake.”
The British racer had hoped to claw back points against Nico Rosberg in the Japanese Grand Prix but instead lost ground because of a botched start.
Hamilton was slow to get off the line, falling from P2 to P8 in a matter of metres.
“I don’t think the damp patch had really anything to do with it,” he said. “I made a mistake.
“Then working my way up from there was tricky, but I did the best I could.
“I just got wheelspin.”
He added: “Nico did a great job so congrats to him.”
Hamilton recovered to finish the 53-lap grand prix in third place but it could have been second where it not for an off while fighting with Max Verstappen.
Over the radio Hamilton accused the Red Bull driver of moving under braking but would not be drawn further in the post-race press conference.
Asked about the Dutchman’s antics, he replied: “I fought hard at the end, I did everything I could. It doesn’t really matter now. It is done and I move forwards.”
Sunday’s result means Hamilton now trails Rosberg by 33 points in the race for the World title.
But with 100 points still in play, Hamilton says he is not giving up.
He said: “Of course I will give it everything I’ve got as I did in the race and we will see what happens.”