Lewis Hamilton has credited and thanked Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg for assisting him to victory in the Monaco Grand Prix after he heeded a crucial team order call to move over for his title rival early in the race.
With Rosberg struggling to get heat into his tyres and brakes following a wet safety car start, the German lost significant time to leader Daniel Ricciardo in the Red Bull over the opening laps, forcing Mercedes to issue an order for him to move over and allow his team-mate Hamilton through into second place for a shot at the win.
A significant moment in that it did indeed unleash Hamilton into contention, which he capitalised on to clinch his first win of the year, it subsequently his championship chances over Rosberg a huge boost as he slashed the margin between the two down from 43 points to 24.
With Hamilton revealing a 'rule' in Mercedes that stipulates the faster driver be assisted by his team-mate if victory is at stake, the defending champion – after sweeping past on lap 16 on the run to Casino – says he didn't realise Rosberg had moved over for that reason until after the race.
“Until then [in the media session] I didn't know what happened, I thought he had a problem,” he said. “Of course he did have a problem, I guess keeping the temperatures in, which I had as well. Just managed to keep the temperature in the breaks and the tyres -- That makes such a big difference, my win in 2008 at Silverstone, I could keep the heat and temperatures in the tyres and no one else could, so I was grateful that I was able to do that today.
“I knew that when I was behind Nico that I was much, much quicker than him but I just couldn't see anything in his spray and also I was conscious that none of us were going to win this race if I was stuck behind, but as he said we have an agreement that when the team asks you to push and you are not able to and it is going to ruin the teams' chances of winning, we have that kind of agreement but I didn't know until you just told me here so I just said thanks.”
Insisting he didn't ask Mercedes to be let by, Hamilton reveals he was attempting to instead set up an unusual pass around the outside of the Massenet left-hander.
“Not at all. It's very, very rare that I've ever asked to be let by. I was right up behind Nico and I think my engineer spoke to me and I replied and said that I was much quicker but it's just so hard to pass, I don't know if anything happened from that but I felt like I could win this race but stuck behind this team is not going to win.
“Not thinking that something would happen after that I was actually planning to overtake him at some stage, I was looking for all of the weak points, his weak areas and I was just waiting for the moment to be close enough. I was going to take him in Turn 3 around the outside, which not many people do but that was the place."