Nico Rosberg rued slipping further behind team-mate Lewis Hamilton in the championship after accepting that he had to win the Japanese Grand Prix to improve his title prospects.
Rosberg arrived in Japan with a 41 point deficit to Hamilton but claimed pole position, though was unable to convert it into victory as Hamilton swept by at Turn 2.
Rosberg dropped to fourth in the process but recovered to second, albeit dropping 48 points behind Hamilton in the title battle.
"A tough day for me," he said. "It was very close throughout the corner and on the exit I had to go off the track to avoid a collision, which cost me speed and pushed me back to fourth place.
"After that, I was fighting for P2 today rather than the win. But I was able to push then and overtake Valtteri [Bottas], which was great.
"The team did also a great job with the undercut of Sebastian [Vettel], this worked out perfectly with a really hard out-lap on the new tyres.
"So second place is damage limitation for me, as I had to win here in Japan to close the gap to Lewis. But I will keep pushing and try to win in Sochi now. I had lots of positives this weekend. So I will be back strongly."