Sebastian Vettel had no qualms with losing further ground to Lewis Hamilton in the title race as a result of Mercedes' team orders at the Russian Grand Prix. Valtteri Bottas was ordered aside in aid of Hamilton at the Sochi Autodrom, helping to build a 50-point lead in the drivers' standings.
Vettel had targeted victory in the six remaining races after he was outclassed by Hamilton in Singapore, but lost another 10 points to his rival as Ferrari lacked pace across the weekend.
The German was briefly ahead of Hamilton thanks to some impressive Ferrari pit-stop strategy, but Hamilton took the place back on-track, before Mercedes intervened to put Hamilton in the lead.
Vettel famously ignored Red Bull's team orders at the 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix, but said their implementation in this scenario was a "no-brainer".
Vettel said: "Well done to both of them, they played together as a team very well.
"In their defence, all the questions – I know you guys love controversy so therefore ask naughty questions to them as individuals, but I think in the position they are it's a no-brainer what they did today.
"Maybe not all the questions are justified."
With just 125 points left to race for, Vettel could win the remaining five races and still not be crowned champion if Hamilton follows him in second each time.
"I'm clever enough, I wasn't a genius in maths but I was clever enough to pay attention to make out for myself that it's not getting easier if we lose points," said Vettel.
"We have to be happy with third, and settle with that for today.
"I still believe in our chance, yes. Obviously it's not getting bigger if you finish behind but who knows.
"It takes one DNF and all of a sudden things look different. Ideally two! Which I'm not wishing to Lewis, but you never know what happens.
"We need to stay on top of our game, which maybe we haven't been completely this weekend, and make sure from where we are now we focus on winning the last races."
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