Sébastien Bourdais admitted he wasn't sure where he had even finished in the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa after losing out on his maiden podium finish in Formula One on the final lap.
The multiple Champ Car title winner had produced arguably his strongest performance since joining the F1 grid at the start of the year to run strongly inside the points entering the closing stages of the race, with a fine middle stint in particular leaving the Frenchman in fifth place when the anticipated rain started to fall at the Ardennes circuit just minutes before the finish.
When Kimi Raikkonen crashed out of second place, Bourdais was promoted to fourth place and then suddenly found himself starting the final lap in third when Fernando Alonso elected to gamble by pitting for intermediate tyres in an effort to try and take advantage of the wet circuit as both Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa set out to complete the final tour on dry rubber.
Bourdais followed suit and set about trying to nurse his STR-03 around the final lap to secure the final step on the podium, but as he tip-toed around the lap, he was powerless to prevent Nick Heidfeld, who had also gambled on a late tyre change, Alonso, team-mate Sebastian Vettel and Robert Kubica from finding a way past.
That demoted Bourdais to seventh place, matching his result in the season opener in Melbourne back in March, although the Frenchman admitted he wasn't even sure where he was when he took the flag to complete a chaotic race.
"On the last lap it was a lottery with the car getting away from you with every turn of the wheel," he said. "It's a horrible situation, as everything had been under control up until then. But I am not in a situation where I can risk everything and at the end of the race I didn't even know where I finished.
"It was so close to being a great result I felt I could almost touch it and so it was a very frustrating way to finish what was a great weekend up to that point. Such a shame, but nevertheless a very strong result for the team."
Despite Bourdais' late heartache, it looked like Vettel could still take Toro Rosso to the podium for the first time as he managed to get ahead of his team-mate on the final lap but he was powerless to prevent Heidfeld from moving through to third and then lost fourth to Alonso coming out of the bus-stop for the final time to take the flag in fifth – matching his best result of the year.
"Both me and Seb have good reason to smile after a race like that," he said. "The last lap was unbelievable and I was shocked as I got passed in the last fifty metres and then Heidfeld followed by Alonso drove past me with a 'whoosh' on their intermediates. It was very tricky at the end and you really had to trust your car.
"We were all saying that Eau Rouge and Blanchimont are now flat, but with a few drops of rain, I tell you, you see the real nature of these corners. Overall it was a fantastic race, even though I was stuck in traffic for a while. But I was very happy with the car and we had a very strong pace today. The guys at the front are still in a different dimension, but we have made some good steps forward and now it is up to us to use that potential at the next few races."