Valtteri Bottas’ Wheel Nut Still Attached

2021 Monaco Grand Prix, Thursday - Valtteri Bottas (image courtesy Mercedes-AMG Petronas)

Valtteri Bottas car has been packed up and left Monaco with the wheel that caused his DNF at the FORMULA 1 GRAND PRIX DE MONACO 2021 still attached to the car, as the team were unable to remove it in the pit garage.

Bottas was running in second place in Monaco when he pitted for fresh tyres, however, the wheel nut was machined off and the Finn could only watch and wait as his pit crew tried in vain to remove the wheel.

With his hopes of a podium going down the drain there was still a belief that the team could get him back out on track, but after trying multiple times and with different wheel guns, the tyre would not budge and the team retired the car.

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

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

“If we don’t quite get the pitstop 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 pitstop nuts if the gun starts spinning and chipping off the driving faces of the wheelnut.

“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 today.”

“[Valtteri’s] first stint was fine, he did a good job, looked after the car as best he could. With the nature of this circuit, there was never going to be an overtake opportunity, and the only question is what sort of pace are you going to have left to play with around the time where you’re deciding whether it’s undercut or overcut time.”

“He did a good job of leaving us with an ability to protect the second place with a car that was never going to challenge Max today for first. So he did a good job and would have had a comfy run to second without the failure in the pit stop,” concluded Allison.

With Bottas retiring from the race and Lewis Hamilton only managing a seventh-place finish, Mercedes fell to second in the 2021 Constructor’s Championship standings, where they now trail Red Bull Racing by a solitary point.


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