Felipe Massa admitted the pit-lane drama that ended his hopes of victory at the Singapore Grand Prix was a bitter pill to swallow.
The Ferrari driver had started the race - the first in Formula One history held at night - on pole and well set to overtake McLaren's Lewis Hamilton at the top of the drivers' standings.
However, after the safety car had been deployed following Renault driver Nelson Piquet's crash the Brazilian entered the pits.
There Massa was incorrectly given the green light to leave while the fuel hose was still attached and he knocked over a member of the pit crew as he attempted to head back out on to the circuit.
He reached the end of the pit lane where mechanics struggled to remove the hose before he was able to rejoin the race at the back.
Massa finished in 13th place while Renault's Fernando Alonso took advantage to snatch his first victory this season.
Even more disappointing was that title rival Hamilton claimed third place to secure six points, opening up a seven-point gap at the top of the championship with three races remaining.
"It is hard to deal with losing in this fashion," he said. "It was a race that was within our grasp with a car that was just the way I wanted.
"We had a good strategy and all the signs were there that we could get a one-two finish. But things can change in a moment and that is what happened."
Massa refused to blame anyone for the incident and instead vowed to give his best shot in overturning the gap between himself and Hamilton.
"At the pit stop one of our guys made a mistake but we are only human," he added.
"Each one of us always tries to do our best and these things can happen. On this track it is almost impossible to overtake and ending up at the back meant I had no chance of getting into the points.
"We have the potential to do well as we saw today and we will give it our best shot. We mustn't give up and I'm sure we won't."
Ferrari's disappointment was compounded after Kimi Raikkonen crashed out of the race with three laps remaining and also missed out on the points.
Consequently, McLaren leapfrogged Ferrari into first place in the constructors' standings and Raikkonen admitted morale was low in the team.
"My situation in the championship was already rather compromised so this doesn't really make much difference but I am unhappy because the team lost precious points in the constructors' classification," the world champion said.
"Clearly morale is not high today but I am not used to giving up and I will do my very best to try and help the team reach its targets."