Valtteri Bottas’ Monaco podium hopes ended in the pits, and it is a mistake which he says Mercedes must learn from.
The Finn had been running a comfortable P2 behind Max Verstappen when he came in for his mandatory pit stop, but it was at this point that his race descended into chaos.
Mercedes were unable to get the front-right tyre off of the W12, with the German outfit later confirming that the “wheel nut machined onto the axle”.
It meant that Bottas was unable to exit the pits and so his afternoon ended there with a DNF.
This is not the first time that Mercedes have come unstuck in the pits this season, and this latest error, the most costly of 2021 for the team, is one which Bottas said they must learn from.
“I don’t know what happened in the pitstop to be honest, I don’t know yet if it was human error or a technical issue,” he told reporters back in the paddock.
“But in any case, we need to learn from it. It’s a big mistake by us and it should not happen.
“I think otherwise we could have fought for the win, Red Bull and Max, they were really quick, so it would have been difficult, but at least we could have gotten a second place today with good points but we lost them.
“Max was quick and I think they managed to get the soft tyre to last a bit longer in the first stint and once you get onto the hard tyre there’s not much happening.
“I don’t know. We’ll never know if we could have challenged or not.”
Tough one to swallow. This has been one of our hardest days as a Team in a very long time.
We have to accept it, own the failure, learn from it and move on from here. pic.twitter.com/S8q2gMX4dw
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) May 23, 2021
Bottas was not the only Mercedes driver unhappy with the team’s performance in the pit lane – Lewis Hamilton was also far from a satisfied customer.
A poor qualifying showing had left him starting P6, and unable to pass Pierre Gasly on-track, Mercedes also failed to get Hamilton ahead of the AlphaTauri driver through the pit-stop route.
To make matters worse, Hamilton would also lose out to Red Bull’s Sergio Perez who overcut the pair of them, ultimately ending the race in P7 and losing the Drivers’ Championship lead to Verstappen.