Sebastian Vettel said he was surprised to lose out to the Ferraris at the start of the German Grand Prix as he had been confident he could get off the line quicker than the Italian cars.
Poleman Vettel slipped from first to third behind Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso by the first corner and was unable to recover the lost positions later on.
"Usually we have very good starts," he said. "Yesterday I was told Ferrari had good starts but up until today we had better ones.
"I had quite a lot of grip, dropped the clutch and had a bit of a bolt, the first few metres were very poor. Luckily I didn't stall the engine so lost momentum.
"I knew it would be tight with Fernando and no way to stay ahead of him and then I was surprised to see Felipe come from the left."
After that Vettel felt his Red Bull did not have the pace to quite match the Ferraris, and said even when he did get close, he was hampered by dirty air.
"It was a good race and we knew it would be tight," he said. "The closer you get you feel the tyres losing grip, and starting to have a bit of graining.
"For the majority of the race the Ferraris were a tenth or two quicker than us. It was difficult to keep up the pace.
"The race is done, we finished third so we can be proud of that. We achieved our maximum today, Congratulations to Ferrari and I'm very pleased to be on the podium, it's special to be there at a home grand prix. To be here and see everyone cheering is very nice, very emotional."