Mercedes driver Gary Paffett has admitted his 'disappointment' in gaining a fourth place result during the opening race, despite regaining the DTM championship lead at the Hockenheimring.

Paffett arrived into the penultimate race of the year two-points behind the then championship leader Paul di Resta but outscored his Mercedes team mate, who could only manage eighth, to take a six-point lead into Sunday's deciding race.

The 37-year old led the opening third of the race but fell behind eventual winner Rene Rast shortly after the pit-window. Paffett later dropped further down to fourth following a late safety car period.

“The result was disappointing. We had great pace in the race and a margin on René in the first stint. He gained a lot on us in the pit stop and overtook me shortly after that with DRS," said Paffett.

"Then we had a bit of a battle, and I actually stopped using DRS. I was quite comfortable just sitting behind him, because I thought we had the pace to challenge him later in the race."

Having spent lap after lap dicing with Rast for the lead, Paffett said he elected the conserve his performance for an attack later in the race, but clarified that the late safety car period ultimately scuppered his chances against his Audi-rival.

With Rast able to pull away at the front, Paffett was unable to fend off Robin Frijns and Timo Glock for a step on the podium.

"I was in P2 without any threat from behind. Then the safety car came out for debris on the track, and after that it was very hard to wake my old tyres up," Paffett continued.

"Then, on the restart, someone went off and the whole track was covered in dust. I nearly went off something like ten times because it was impossible to get any temperature back in the tyres.”

Tomorrow [Sunday] will mark Paffett's last race in the DTM as Mercedes embark on their final race in the series.