Nico Rosberg says he understands the call from Mercedes to allow Lewis Hamilton through early on in the Monaco Grand Prix as he struggled to keep up with leader Daniel Ricciardo, but says it made team order no less 'painful' regardless.
Rosberg started the wet race in second place, but lost contact with the Red Bull of Ricciardo early on as he struggled for pace, with Hamilton following closely as he sought an easy route through on his team-mate and title rival.
With Rosberg given the 'hurry up' to justify holding position, eventually Mercedes ordered the championship leader to move over and allow Hamilton ahead in the hope he would challenge for victory.
With Hamilton going to on to win his first race of the season, Rosberg insists the call to help his Mercedes counterpart was 'simple' if difficult to admit.
“First of all, at the time it was pretty simple because it's a rule that we've had for many, many years now and it was pretty damn obvious at the time that I'm not going to be able to fight for the win with that pace,” he said.
“It's clear that we need to give Lewis the chance to do it and they gave me a warning to try and up the pace and I wasn't able to and then the next step is to let Lewis by and I think obviously the final result made it worthwhile in that sense for the team. So it proved that was the right thing to do at the time otherwise Lewis wouldn't have won.
"So that got the team the win in Monaco and therefore fully understandable and simple at the time. Very painful of course, that's clear but easy to decide to do that and I've been saying I'm not thinking about the championship at the moment.
Blaming his slow pace on a 'lack of confidence' in the car in wet conditions, Rosberg – a winner in Monaco for the last three seasons – dropped from third to sixth in the first round of pit-stops, before slipping to seventh on the final lap when Nico Hulkenberg got the jump on him.
“It was just a complete lack of confidence in those conditions and around Monaco it's not a good feeling to have. So that was the most painful one because at that point I realised with that feeling in the car I wasn't able to fight for the win
“I am disappointed because I wanted to win Monaco, I wanted to win my home race, it's the most exciting race of the year and that's what I was out there to do and I'm very disappointed because I was absolutely miles off it and that's it.”
Rosberg's lead at the head of the overall standings has been slashed from 43 points to 24 points.