Sochi: Nico Rosberg had only himself to blame for a first lap error at the Russian Grand Prix that allowed Mercedes team mate and championship leader Lewis Hamilton to romp to a fourth win in a row on Sunday.
"I just went completely wrong and I don`t understand it," said the German, now 17 points adrift of the Briton with three races remaining in what amounts to a private duel between the two for the Formula One title.
"It was actually an easy situation. It`s just the first time at this track, first time down there with 160kg (of fuel) in the tank. I just got it wrong completely."
The pair had lined up together on the front row, with Hamilton on pole position, for the inaugural race in Russia at the Sochi Olympic Park circuit.
Rosberg got himself alongside Hamilton but then locked up as he braked, a puff of smoke highlighting the damage to the tyres before he went wide and outside the track limits.
When the team told him to hand back the place to the Briton, Rosberg informed them that he would have to pit instead.
"It was just a mistake on my side, braked too late and that’s it. Very unnecessary because it was my corner and I should have been in the lead after that. So, obviously very disappointed with that," he told reporters.
"After that my tyres were just square. They were vibrating so much I couldn’t see where I was going so I knew that I had to pit."
When he rejoined the race, he was in 20th place and facing 52 laps on the same set of medium tyres -- a big ask in the circumstances.
Not only did he do it, he clawed his way back to second in an impressive act of damage limitation.
"My car was just unbelievable today and that’s what allowed me to come back through the field," he said, joining in the team celebrations for their first constructors` championship with mixed emotions.
"Half of me of course is extremely disappointed that I messed up today but the other half, I’m really, really happy, because everybody in the team deserves it so much," he said.
"For them the most important title of the year is the constructors’ championship. That’s why I can even smile a bit, because I’m happy for everybody to have achieved that."