Sebastian Vettel admitted he always kept believing in himself after finally ending his barren run with victory at the Singapore Grand Prix.
Vettel, a four-time world champion, had not won a race in over a year, a drought spanning back to Belgium in August 2018, as he arrived at the Marina Bay Street Circuit this weekend.
But Ferrari's pitting strategy saw him nudge in front of in-form team-mate Charles Leclerc on Sunday - and he took his opportunity to finally get back on the top step of the podium.
Asked how he felt after such a long wait, Vettel told Sky Sports: "Maybe I'm not clever enough to look back that much. I didn't really count. You always look forward to the next one.
"It's not been the easiest couple of weeks for me, but in the end, you pull through and you have to keep believing in yourself.
Make that 53
— Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) September 22, 2019
"I'm happy with how today went - I'm not entirely happy with the weekend because yesterday I knew I had it in me [in qualifying] and I struggled to do it in the last lap.
"But my race comes alive as soon as I hear 'box, box'. It was quite late, I don't know if it was spontaneous, but that was obviously the decider for the race."
Meanwhile, team boss Mattia Binotto defended the tactics that denied Leclerc a third straight win.
"When we stopped Sebastian, [Max] Verstappen was ready to stop so we had to protect his position," he said. "It was the best opportunity also for us to overtake [Lewis] Hamilton.
"It would have freed Charles and make the pit crew free for him. So that was the best time to stop Sebastian."