Racing Point's Sergio Perez was at a loss to understand why his crew had opted to pit him so late for a second time in Sunday's Emilia Romagna GP, a decision that cost him a potential podium finish.
Perez made up for a disappointing P11 qualifying performance by undertaking a long first stint on the medium tyre that pushed him into the top four ahead of his first stop on lap 28 and a switch to the hard compound.
The Mexican then fought his way back to fourth, inheriting third when Red Bull's Max Verstappen retired. But Perez than lost track position to Renault's Daniel Ricciardo and Ferrari's Charles Leclerc when his team called him in during the subsequent Safety Car period, leaving him chasing thereafter.
But it was too little too late for the Racing Point charger who was understandably frustrated to have perhaps missed a chance to step up on the podium as he questioned his team's strategy call.
"I don't know, I think, looking at it, it didn't make sense at the time, you know, the call was very late, but it's always easy to take the right decision after the race," Perez told Sky F1.
"Overtaking today was extremely difficult. I haven't spoken to the team yet. They must have some reasons on it.
"Just painful, painful day, because we had a podium in the pocket. It is just hard to digest. I think they are as disappointed as I am right now.
"We are a team and we lose and also win together. In hindsight, it was the wrong call today."
Despite the disappointment, Perez preferred to focus on the positives although Ricciardo's podium has allowed Renault to snatch third in the Constructors' standings while Racing Point sits one point behind, level with McLaren.
"From all the negative we can take a lot of positives," Perez said. "That first stint was tremendous, great strategy, great calls from the team. We put ourselves in a position to get on that podium
"But yeah, it is a painful day, you know. Also a painful day in the championship [against] our competition - we basically gave the podium to Ricciardo."