Lewis Hamilton said he was relieved to just finish the Canadian Grand Prix rather than concerned about losing the championship lead.
Victory by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, with Hamilton fifth, put the German back ahead of the Briton by one point.
Hamilton, who had engine problems in the race, said: “It could have been a lot worse. I could have lost a lot more points.
“I was waiting for it to let go. I am incredibly grateful it kept going.”
Hamilton was hampered in Canada by having to stick with an old engine after the upgraded power unit planned by Mercedes was abandoned at the last minute because of reliability concerns.
- Chequered Flag podcast – Canadian GP review
- Listen again: ‘Why did we pit so early?’ – Hamilton to team
In addition, the engine developed a cooling problem from the start of the race, which meant he had to make an earlier pit stop to open extra cooling ducts and it lacked power for the rest of the race.
He said: “The whole race I was thinking it was going to blow up. I will take this loss with my head held high and then hopefully have a better couple of races.”
Hamilton admitted that he was concerned about the fact that he had lost 18 points to Vettel in the past two races.
“That is a lot,” he said. “Ferrari have been doing the better job, particularly this month and their whole package has just been a little bit ahead of us. Their whole package has just been a little bit ahead of ours. We have to do more and keep pushing, hopefully there are some good things to come.”
Vettel said he was “not too bothered” about retaking a lead he last held after the Chinese Grand Prix back in April. He emphasised it was “a long season”.
Canada marked the one-third point of the 21-race 2018 season and Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff described it as a “major wake-up call” for his entire team.
“You need to get the right balance between pushing the development very hard and adding performance to the car and at the same time keeping reliability,” Wolff said.
“The team has been extremely strong in the past at keeping reliability on a high level so that is not a part that worries me, it is more we have seen today a Ferrari that is the stronger car – strong in qualifying, strong in race and at no time we had a chance to fight for the win.
“We came to Montreal expecting the car to be really strong and we are leaving Montreal seeing that we haven’t been where we should have been, where we thought we should be.
“It is a three-way fight. Six cars can win races and you can’t take anything for granted. You can’t come to Montreal and think it is going to be a walk in the park. That is the kind of wake-up call you get.”