‘Valtteri Stopped a Little Too Early’ – Wolff Claims Bottas Is Partly to Blame for Wheel Nut Fiasco

Published 05/25/2021, 8:38 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Portuguese Grand Prix – Algarve International Circuit – Portimao, Portugal – May 2, 2021 Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas before the race Pool via REUTERS/Gabriel Bouys


Valtteri Bottas had a catastrophic end to his race in Monaco. The Mercedes man was going along swimmingly in P2 until he came into the pits for a quick tire change. However, the pitstop never really happened. The front right tire had a jammed wheel nut, which meant that it couldn’t be taken off, thus forcing Bottas to retire from a promising position. It was an extremely unfortunate incident, and Bottas can’t really be blamed for it.

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Or can he? Mercedes boss Toto Wolff certainly thinks so.

After the race in Monaco, Wolff deflected a slight bit of the blame for jamming the wheel nut on the Finn.

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He said (translated via Google), “Valtteri 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.”

Formula One F1. Monaco Grand Prix. Circuit de Monaco, Monte Carlo, Monaco. Mercedes Executive Director Toto Wolff in the FIA Press Conference FIA/Handout via REUTERS

The wheel nut was stuck on so tightly that the Silver Arrows have had to take some desperate measure to get it out.

Bottas, meanwhile, is no stranger to having bad pitstops, with the Finn having faced some horror stops in the past as well, like at the Sakhir GP 2020.

Valtteri’s resulting DNF in Monaco effectively rules him out of the running for a championship win. He currently sits in fourth place on the Drivers’ championship standings with 47 points from five races.

Valtteri Bottas and Mercedes will be looking to bounce back from Monaco flop

The Finn wasn’t the only Silver Arrows driver to have a disappointing weekend. His teammate Lewis Hamilton too had a race to forget, crossing the finish line in P7.

Formula One F1. Monaco Grand Prix. Circuit de Monaco, Monte Carlo, Monaco. Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in action during the race REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

The seven-time world champion had a poor outing in qualifying and got stuck behind Pierre Gasly for pretty much the entirety of the race. With just seven points to show for their effort in Monaco, Mercedes will want to put this race behind them as quickly as possible and focus on the next one in Baku.

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Both Bottas and Hamilton will relish their chances in Azerbaijan having won there previously. For Lewis, he’d want to usurp Max Verstappen in the championship tally while Bottas will want to hunt down Lando Norris and close the gap to the aforementioned duo.

What will the Azerbaijan Grand Prix have in store for us? We shall soon find out.

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Ronan Carvalho

1063 articles

Ronan Carvalho is senior F1 author for Essentiallysports. Ronan is currently pursuing his Journalism degree from St. Xavier's College.

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