After being the only man to give Sebastian Vettel
a scare for pole position in qualifying on Saturday, Nico Rosberg
thought that there might be just a small chance to convert his front row position to a victory if only he could make the crucial pass in the run down to turn 1.
"I had a good start today and the pace of our car was really strong this evening," said Rosberg, who ran in second place for the first two thirds of the race.
Rosberg - together with Vettel and his own team mate Lewis Hamilton
- was among those to decide to stay off pit road when Daniel Ricciardo's accident brought out a safety car on lap 24, leaving him having to pit for the second time on lap 41 which dropped him down into traffic in 12th place that proved difficult to overcome in the laps remaining before the end.
"The safety car was unfortunate timing for us and perhaps it wasn't the best decision to stay out but, at the time, we weren't sure if our tyres would be able to last the distance," Rosberg explained.
"The Safety Car came out at what was just the wrong time for us," confirmed Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn. "It was a close decision whether or not to pit the cars in order to try and run over half the race distance on a single set of tyres.
"Our view was that we couldn't make it, so we left both cars out on track - as did Red Bull
- so that we could run a shorter final stint," he explained. "In the end, we saw that two of the cars who pitted managed to make it work, but most others had to make an additional stop or fell out of the window of tyre performance in the closing laps."
"The race was further complicated by a front wing problem for Nico, who suffered from rubber build-up at a critical stage of the race which cost him performance through excessive understeer," he pointed out.
Rosberg confirmed that the rubber build up on the front wing had "cost me quite a lot of performance for some laps and had an impact on my race because the tyres suffered more than would be normal.
"We could perhaps have been second today but events in the race just didn't go our way so it is a little disappointing to only finish in fourth place," Rosberg added.