Fernando Alonso says Ferrari was caught out by Red Bull's strategy in the Singapore Grand Prix which means he missed his best opportunity to attack.

Having been running in second place, Alonso pit during the safety car period and dropped behind both Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo. While finishing close behind both drivers, Alonso never made an attempt at an overtake and he said Ferrari had expected the Red Bull's to pit again so held back when on fresh tyres.

"At the beginning we were thinking that it was hard to go to the end with one set of tyres so we took a little bit of care of the tyres after the safety car for a couple of laps," Alonso said. "Then when we understood that the Red Bulls were not pitting any more - with about 12 laps to the end - we tried to attack. I closed the gap to Ricciardo and tried to attack but the hard tyres have less grip. I had fresher tyres compared to Red Bull but in the end I had four laps less [on my tyres] than Ricciardo.

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"When Hamilton came out of the pit he had new tyres, new hard tyres against 25-lap old tyres for Vettel. I had 21 laps on my tyres and Ricciardo had 24 or 25; it was not a big difference or not enough to attack."

However, Alonso said finishing a competitive fourth place gives him encouragement that Ferrari will be able to fight with Red Bull for the remainder of the season.

"Hopefully we can continue like this. Obviously it's just a hope. We need a normal circuit, not a street circuit; Suzuka will be a good test for us to see if we are in good form or not. We'll see. Obviously we would like to keep improving the car and to keep getting closer and closer to the leaders.

"I feel better in the car but the results haven't changed too much. I think Germany, Hungary, Belgium and here we were more or less similar between fourth, fifth, third... So it's already four or five races that we seem more competitive and we just need that last step."