NEW DELHI, Oct 28, 2012 (AFP) - A beaming Lewis Hamilton said he was puzzled by his poor start but thrilled by his part in a thrilling contest after finishing fourth for McLaren in Sunday's Indian Grand Prix.
The 27-year-Briton, who leaves McLaren for Mercedes next season, qualified third on the grid, but was unable to make the most of it and was pulled into a battle with his team-mate and compatriot Jenson Button on the opening lap.
"I don't yet understand why I got such a poor start - it lost me ground and then I fell under attack from the guys behind," said Hamilton.
"During the first lap, I was primarily focusing on not colliding with Jenson, then I saw Fernando (Alonso) in my right mirror. He was towing me from very far back.
"Even if I'd had a better start than I did, the guys in front were still maybe a bit too fast, particularly in the first stint. During that first stint I started having a downshift problem - I was having to change down with my right hand instead of my left, so the team elected to change the steering wheel at the pit-stop."
Hamilton almost passed Australian Mark Webber of Red Bull to finish third in the final laps, but finally had to settle for fourth.
He added: "I tried to chase down Mark (Webber) in the closing laps, but by then it was too late and he was going too quickly for me to be able to mount a serious challenge.
"But I never give up, and, right until the very last corner, I thought I might just be able to catch him, but in the end it wasn't to be. Still, I loved it out there today - I can't remember the last time I've pushed so far, so hard, for so long, right on the limit - it felt great.
"It felt fantastic, in fact, to be in the middle of such a battle."