Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton thanked team-mate Nico Rosberg ‘for being a gentleman’ and letting him through to help him win the Monaco Grand Prix.
Rosberg struggled for pace early on and was told by Mercedes to allow Hamilton into second behind Daniel Ricciardo.
A botched pit stop by Red Bull then enabled Hamilton to take a first win of 2016 and cut the drivers’ title deficit to Rosberg to 24 points.
“I didn’t expect the points to shift in the way they have,” said Hamilton.
Rosberg said: “The feeling I had in the car was more painful [than having to let Hamilton by].
“It was very painful of course but easy to decide to do that.”
There is an agreement between the Mercedes team and the drivers that if one of them is off the pace and affecting the other’s chance of a win, then he will let him by.
Hamilton won his third world title last year but went into Sunday’s race 43 points behind championship leader Rosberg, who started 2016 with four straight victories.
Hamilton, who had suffered repeated technical problems in the first five races, said: “I’m just focused on enjoying the moment.
“But the past five races have shown anything is possible. I’m conscious mistakes are still being made and we really need to pull together.”
He added: “A swing goes both ways.”
Doing it the hard way
Hamilton had started third after a fuel-pressure problem had affected his qualifying session.
“In the past, I would have been annoyed all night and denied myself any enjoyment in the other great things here,” he said.
“But I went out with some friends, had a beer and thought: ‘Let’s see what tomorrow brings.'”
He added: “I came here today thinking I’ve just got to go and do it. It’s not just going to happen. No-one’s going to give it to me. The rain definitely opened a window of opportunity. Once I got past it was hammer time.”
Rosberg said he did not understand why he was lacking so much pace in the wet opening part of the race.
Ricciardo pulled out a 13.1-second lead in seven laps before Rosberg let Hamilton through and the Briton then pulled out 10 seconds in five laps once he was into second place.
Rosberg said: “It was pretty simple – I wasn’t going to be able to fight for the win. They gave me a warning to up my pace and I couldn’t so it was logical and fully understandable.”
He said he would look into the data to see if he could understand what had gone wrong.