May 29, 2016

MONACO (AP) Formula One's championship leader Nico Rosberg put it bluntly, lamenting a ''complete lack of confidence'' in his Mercedes car after finishing seventh in Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix.

The German driver was aiming for a fourth straight win on his home circuit - the son of former world champion Keke Rosberg grew up in Monaco - but instead saw his championship lead slashed to 24 points by his victorious teammate Lewis Hamilton.

Hamilton was 43 points behind Rosberg heading into the rain-soaked race, but Rosberg said the car caused him more pain than his rival significantly cutting the gap.

''It was more painful the feeling I had in the car, that was the worst,'' Rosberg told reporters at the team motorhome. ''Because it was a complete lack of confidence in those conditions, and around Monaco that's not a good feeling to have.''

Rosberg had been odds-on to extend his lead over Hamilton, considering that he was starting from second on the grid with Hamilton behind him on the hardest track in F1 to overtake on.

But it was clear early on that there was a problem with his car.

''It was pretty damn obvious that I was not going to be able to compete for the win,'' Rosberg said. ''I had to stay well away from the (speed) limit or I would have been in the wall.''

Both Mercedes cars had a fuel pump issue after Saturday's qualifying, although Rosberg was not certain what the problem was during the race.

''We're looking into it and trying to understand it,'' he said. ''There are already a few things that have come up - brakes for sure were an issue.''

Mercedes' head of motorsport Toto Wolff was sympathetic, although he had to juggle that with feeling happy for Hamilton.

''(Rosberg) let his teammate past - his main rival for the title - had a scrappy pit stop and a car that didn't have any pace,'' Wolff said. ''For him, all the problems came in one day. I'm really happy for Lewis, but obviously it was really bad for Nico.''

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