Carlos Sainz believes McLaren was only denied a shot at the podium in the German Grand Prix by its rivals' risky strategies unfolding in their favour.
Sainz was the only driver among the top ten to have only stopped three times in Sunday's chaotic race, with McLaren opting for a cautious approach in terms of strategy, contrary to Toro Rosso and Racing Point which were the first to switch Daniil Kvyat and Lance Stroll to the dry soft compound tyre under a third Safety Car regime that took place some 20 laps from the end.
That decision gave both drivers an edge compared to Sainz who resorted to a used set of softs for his third and final stint.
"Every decision that we do probably was the right one," said Sainz.
"In the end we lost out on a podium because of two cars with nothing to lose.
"They pitted for slicks and benefited from that. When you don't see the Mercedes, Red Bull or Ferrari pitting you say, we are P5 we are crazy if we pit now and we miss this.
"We were very close to pitting and that would've given us a podium place but in the end it was wise that we didn't but the others benefited from the risky decision."
Earlier in the race, Sainz had spun off the track at Hockenheim's treacherous Turn 16 but avoided a contact with barriers.
But the mishap, repeated by several other drivers over the course of the afternoon, did set back the Spaniard who was forced to battle his back up the field.
"Honestly today, I was not really comfortable with the conditions," Sainz added.
"We were running a smaller rear ring than the rest of our competitors and we struggled to warm up our tyres. When you got into a rhythm it was fine but just the restarts we struggled.
"That spin cost me, but in the end we were the only car not to pit for slicks halfway through the race as it started to rain again, so it was a good call that gave us back the position."