René Rast said he was ‘very unhappy’ after finishing second behind title rival Nico Müller in the opening DTM race of the weekend at the Hockenheimring, with the German not realising when he was on the final lap.
Rast and Müller traded the lead several times during the race, with Müller eventually taking the lead five laps from the end.
But Rast had planned to attack on the last lap, only for the chequered flag to come out sooner than the reigning champion had realised.
The Team Rosberg driver put the error down to an inaccurate trackside sign and believes he could have won if not for the confusion.
“It was a very bad race, actually,” said Rast. “There were not many things which went right.
“Actually the key moment was the last lap, but I didn’t know it was the last lap because on the screen it said two laps to go, and I didn’t attack him because I wanted to do it on the last lap.
“Then somehow the chequered flag was out and I didn’t know it was the last lap otherwise I think I could have won, which is a pity. I’m a bit frustrated due to that.”
Rast holds a 13-point advantage over Müller heading into the season finale on Sunday, and the 34-year-old will seal a third title as long as he finishes in the top three – no matter what Müller does.
“30 points is still a big gap. I don’t know the position we need to finish in if Nico wins the race, but it doesn’t matter at the moment.
“I’m just very unhappy with the race today, so I need to digest this one.”