A rueful Nico Rosberg has described his mistake at the start of the Russian Grand Prix as 'unnecessary', even if he was otherwise pleased with a relatively trouble-free fight back to second position behind Lewis Hamilton.

Starting from second on the grid, Rosberg had a better run on pole-sitting Mercedes team-mate Hamilton through the long opening right-hander, but while he certainly looked to have the right line for the bend, a big lock-up would send him very wide.

Returning to the track in the lead, though Rosberg was told to hand back the position to Hamilton straight away, he would come straight into the pit lane to replace his flat-spotted tyres immediately anyway.

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Though very out of position, the low degradation of the Sochi Autodrom circuit would see Rosberg steadily work his way back up the order without the need for a second pit-stop, the German completing 52 laps on a single set of tyres. With this in mind, Rosberg was pleased to get back onto the podium, but frustrated to lose yet more ground to his arch rival.

"It was a mistake on my side, I just braked too late," he conceded. "It was very unnecessary as it was my corner so I was very disappointed with that. After that my tyres were just square, they were vibrating so much I couldn't see where I was going and I had to pit!

"I thought that was it and it was the end of the day, but I am partly happy to get back all the way to second, passing Valtteri [Bottas] along the way. My car was unbelievable today and that is what allowed me to come back through the field."

Indeed, having been forced into what was considered a risky strategy early on, Rosberg was originally planning to stop for a second time. However, not only was the degradation low enough to see him reach the end of the race, he believes he could have stood to push even harder.

"In hindsight I could have pushed more in the race. "It is always easy to know afterwards, but my tyres were fine at the end of the race. It's a pity."

Hamilton's fourth consecutive win has seen him move 17 points ahead of Rosberg in the overall standings, though the 1-2 result does ensure Mercedes are the constructors' champions with three races of the 2014 season remaining.