Alexander Albon says battling Lewis Hamilton towards the end of the German Grand Prix cost him an even stronger result as he lost out during the final pit stops on the drying Hockenheim circuit.

The Toro Rosso driver has secured the best result of his rookie season with sixth place in Germany but was felt a greater finish could have been possible had he not lost time in a surprise battle against reigning F1 world champion Hamilton.

Having opted to stay out as his rivals pitted for dry tyres, Albon gained track position moving up to fourth place directly behind the Mercedes of Hamilton but with drivers behind him profiting on fresher tyres he lost out to Carlos Sainz while fighting the British driver – something he intentionally wanted to avoid to retain his own position.

“We were running in the top five and I thought this really is our pace – we were not losing out to the guys in front, and the guys behind were dropping back. So I was really happy with how it was going, and I thought three-quarters through the race as long as we just finish where we are, we are sorted,” Albon said.

“Unfortunately, there was a restart. I got caught with Lewis. It was the last thing what I expected. I did not want to overtake him. But I was forced into the position so I had to try it. We lost a bit of ground. The guys on the slick tires undercut us quite severely.

“When they came out, they were already five seconds ahead of us. It was more of the fact that we didn’t pit for the dry tyres. We stayed out when the other guys pitted. It is one of those things. There is no one to blame. The guys at the back knew that they could risk it, and it worked.”

Despite losing a place to Sainz, Albon was still thrilled by sixth place coupled with his teammate Daniil Kvyat claiming Toro Rosso’s second-ever F1 podium in third place to cap a stellar race for the Italian squad.

“I was asking for a rain dance yesterday and we got it. It is weird one because I am really happy with myself, I am happy with the team,” he said. “The team did an unbelievable job. Every single call we did was the right one on both cars.”

Hamilton later spun off dropping to the back of the field, while Albon’s race ended with a dramatic clash with Red Bull’s Pierre Gasly which saw the French driver retire two laps from the finish.

“He had a good run on me coming out of the hairpin, I went to defend and it was one of those things where I jinxed to the right,” he said. “I didn’t want to go more than I did.

“But the closing speed was quite big, and we both got caught out. That is my initial feeling because I have not seen the video. I will have a look.”