Wheel nut is still stuck on Bottas’ Mercedes

Date published: May 24 2021 - Mark Scott

Valtteri Bottas Mercedes Monaco Grand Prix

Mercedes has confirmed the broken wheel nut which ended Valtteri Bottas’ Monaco Grand Prix is still stuck on his W12 car.

Not for the first time in recent memory, an absolutely disastrous pit stop has cost the Silver Arrows dear with Bottas forced to retire from the race, throwing away what looked like being a podium finish at the very least in Monte Carlo.

Coming into the pit lane for new tyres, the used front right tyre simply refused to budge and that ensured it was game over for the Finn in what was one of his stronger race weekends so far in this 2021 campaign.

Rather embarrassingly, Mercedes have still not been able to remove the stubborn wheel nut since and will now only be able to do so when the W12 is returned to base.

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“We eventually didn’t get the wheel off, it is sat in our garage with the wheel still on it,” Mercedes technical director James Allison said, as quoted by Motorsport.com.

“It will have to be ground off, get a Dremel out and painfully slice through the remnants of the wheel nut. We will do that back at the factory.”

Allison also went into detail into exactly what happened during Bottas’ stop and why the team were simply unable to get the front right wheel off the car.

He explained: “If we don’t quite get the pit stop gun cleanly on the nut, then it can chip away at the driving faces of the nut.

“We call it machining the nut. It is a bit like when you take a Phillips head screwdriver, and you don’t get it squarely in the cross of the screwdriver.

“You start to round off the driving face of the screwdriver slots, and then you just simply can’t take the screw out of whatever it is you are trying to take it out of because you have no longer got the driving faces.

“A very similar thing happens with our pit stop nuts if the gun starts spinning and chipping off the driving faces of the wheel nut.

“Given the power of the gun, you can end up with no driving face and you just machine the nut down to a place where there is nothing left to grab a hold of, and that is what we had.”

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