At Monaco Grand Prix, the highlight of the race was a pit stop, precisely a failed one: Valtteri Bottas. Mercedes called the Finn in to change his tyres whilst he was running P2, when something went wrong and they were not able fix the tyre and remove the gun to let the driver continue his race.
Whether these sort of mistakes can happen – we are all humans, after all – it surprised to watch the Silver Arrow committing this kind of mistake during their eighth year leading the Championship. The right front tyre could not be set free as the gun could not find the right spot to fix it and Valtteri Bottas had to retire.
The team said that the placement in the box was not as precise as it should have been but Bottas replied with a surprised expression. At the end of the day, he placed his single seater only a couple of centimetres away and this slightly different position was well beneath the tolerance levels admitted.
“Yes, I was surprised. I saw the video, and for me it was pretty spot on, where I stopped, so I was quite surprised. – he explained, pointing out that he saw the datas in the Monaco GP debrief - We analysed, everything in detail and we know that we probably could have done a better job as a team, and with the pit stop of course, you know, it was very normal, debrief from my side," he explained.
“Of course I wanted to see all the reports about where I stopped. I think I was like two or three centimetres off the central line. And, if you get that accuracy normally, it's pretty good. You know, you can easily swing by 10/15 centimetres so I thought it was pretty spot on."
The Finn also tells that he was already worried about some pitstop weakness prior to the Monaco GP, especially on the procedures.
"It was one of my concerns already a few weeks ago, that I raised with the team,- Bottas states - So you know it didn't come from somewhere out of the blue, we knew that we are not perfect in pit stops as we've seen. And also other areas like tyre warm up in qualifying. I knew coming to Monaco that it is going to be an issue and it was one of the things that I highlighted much before the weekend.”- he adds.
However, the Finn takes the positive side from the mistake, admitting that this experience can be a though lesson to learn from.
“We as a team had to maximise the learning from it. There was a detailed analysis, of course, on what happened, why it happened, and how can we prevent that [so it] never happens again in the future. So it's really all about learning the issue and correcting it. I think the team fully understands it now and we've made corrections for that and hopefully we don't have to experience it again."
In the meanwhile, Baku is ready to take place in this weekend so Mercedes will have the chance to take “its” lead back in both championships and prove that also the best can be wrong but then they learn from it.
Sunday 🇮🇩— Valtteri Bottas (@ValtteriBottas) May 23, 2021
Bad luck. Can’t put into words how disappointing it is to DNF. With the efforts we have put into this weekend again and to get 0 points. Learning day for us as a team. But we stick together & come back stronger!#VB77 #F1 #MonacoGP@mercedesamgf1 @f1
📷 S.Etherington pic.twitter.com/QzL78DAWgJ