World Champion Sebastian Vettel was ordered to let team-mate Daniel Ricciardo through for the second race in a row in China last weekend.
The German was attempting to catch Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso for third place in Shanghai.
But with his team-mate on newer tyres and showing better pace, Vettel was told to move aside to allow the Australian through to take the fight to Alonso.
The order, the second in as many races for Vettel, riled him and initially told his team on the pitwall ‘tough luck’ before eventually wielding the position at Turn 1.
Vettel dropped 25 seconds back of Ricciardo in the latter stages as the Tilbrook team could only muster fourth and fifth place finishes.
“I moved over for Daniel once I knew that we were on different strategies,” said Vettel after the race.
“When I was first asked, I didn’t understand as we were on the same tyre, unlike in Bahrain, so I double checked.
“When the team said we were on a different strategy, I moved over. As the race went on, I saw more and more that I didn’t have the pace.
“There was no point in holding Dan back. I’m not yet where I want to be with the car, but it’s an on-going process; hopefully at the next few races we will make some more steps in the right direction.”
Ricciardo added: “With Seb, we were racing and you always want to hold on to your position, but the team radioed and he let me through.
“I did what I could after each stop and we improved the car; at the end I was doing all I could to catch Alonso and I think we got to within a couple of seconds of him as we went over the line.”
Ricciardo moved up to sixth in the overall standings, and Vettel remains fifth, 46 points adrift of leader Nico Rosberg.