Manama - Lewis Hamilton took the blame for the five-second penalty that upset his bid to win Sunday's Bahrain Grand Prix, but added that he was not certain he had the speed for victory.
The three-time world champion said the penalty was a setback, but that his Mercedes may not have been fast enough to overhaul the triumphant Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel.
"The pit lane situation was really my fault, so apologies to the team for losing time there," said Hamilton. "I didn't know if I could catch Sebastian, but the penalty made it twice as hard.
"I'm sorry and apologise, but we still got good points for the team and we still had a great fight."
Hamilton was running second between team-mate Valtteri Bottas and Australian Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull on lap 13 when a Safety Car was deployed after a collision.
The Mercedes team called in both Bottas and Hamilton and the latter slowed in the pit lane ahead of Ricciardo to avoid having to wait behind Bottas in the pits.
A slow stop for Bottas further delayed Hamilton who lost a position when he rejoined before he was given a five-seconds penalty.
He went on to pass the Australian before serving his penalty during his second pit stop before finally passing Bottas in the closing laps and finishing behind Vettel.