F1: Bottas contributed to Monaco-ending pit-stop says Wolff
Updated: May 27, 2021
Mercedes' Valterri Bottas was running in second place during Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix before his race-ending pit-stop which Mercedes Boss Toto Wolff had partly blamed the Finn for.
Bottas, who had qualified third, was promoted to second place after the retirement of Ferrari's Charles Leclerc before the start of the race. The Mercedes driver was running in second and was keeping the pressure on race-leader Max Verstapppen when he got the call to pit on Lap 30.
As the Finn stopped in his pit marks, his pit crew got to work and changed his used Soft tyres for brand-new Medium tyres that would take him to the end of the race. All of his tyres were changed, except for the front-right which wouldn't budge.
Stationary for nearly a minute, different members of the Mercedes pit crew desperately tried to get the wheel nut off so they could fit the new Medium tyre as Bottas sat helplessly tumbling down the timing board.
Bottas said: "It's disappointing. I couldn't believe it was happening."
Eventually, his pit crew admitted defeat and the Finn was forced to retire. It marked Bottas's second retirement of the season with only five races completed this season.
GOING NOWHERE: Bottas has been a victim of now two recent pit-stop blunders by Mercedes with the infamous Sakhir Grand Prix last year and now in Monaco
After the race the team explained the "wheel nut machined onto the axle", essentially meaning it cross-threaded meaning the tyre was unable to be removed. However, Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff partly blamed his driver for the retirement.
In an interview with Auto Motor und Sport, Wolff said: "Valterri stopped a little too early."
"This meant that the mechanic had to apply the impact wrench at an angle. The awkward angle damaged the wheel nut and we couldn't bring it down."
Despite his comments, Wolff has said that the Silver Arrows are to review the design of wheel nut after the ‘catastrophic failure’ in Monaco.
Bottas's retirement was a double-blow for Mercedes in an off weekend for the team as Lewis Hamilton qualified and finished a lowly seventh place. Not only did Hamilton lose command at the top of the Driver's Championship to Verstappen but Mercedes lost the lead to Red Bull in the Constructors.
With his Seven Time World Champion team-mate having an off-weekend, this was Bottas's time to put some of the criticism that he's faced this season to bed. He had looked far more comfortable in the W12 this weekend and had been able to find the right set-up quicker than Hamilton.
DOWN BUT NOT OUT: There's still time to bounce back after his disappointing start to the season but he needs to hurry or it's going to remain a two-horse race for the title
With the retirement, Bottas drops back down to fourth in the championship after being overtaken by McLaren's Lando Norris as the Brit finished on the podium for a second time this season.
Heading into the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on the 6th of June, Bottas finds himself 58 points behind Verstappen, 54 behind Hamilton and nine points behind Norris.