The Finn was forced to retire from the Monaco GP after Mercedes was unable to get his right-front tyre off during a stop.
The wheelnut face had been machined off after the gun was attached at an angle, and the team was only able to remove the wheel after it returned to its Brackley base.
Mercedes suggested that the slight angle caused by how Bottas had arrived at his pit was a factor in the gun not going on straight, but the Finn was not so convinced that he had done anything out of the ordinary.
Asked if he was surprised Mercedes has singled him out for being out of position, Bottas said: “Yes, I was surprised. I saw the video, and for me it was pretty spot on, where I stopped, so I was quite surprised.”
Bottas said the data he had seen in the Monaco GP debrief showed he was only a couple of centimetres out – which is well within normal tolerance levels.
“We analysed, everything in detail and we know that we probably could have done a better job as a team, and with the pitstop 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.”
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12 wheel nut detail
Photo by: Giorgio Piola
Bottas also revealed that he had raised worries about potential weakness in Mercedes’ pitstop procedures prior to the Monaco GP.
“It was one of my concerns already a few weeks ago, that I raised with the team,” he said. “So you know it didn’t come from somewhere out of the blue, we knew that we are not perfect in pitstops 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.”
Bottas said that Mercedes had learned important lessons from the Monaco issue though, which should help prevent a repeat in the future.
“We as a team had to maximise the learning from it,” he said. “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.”