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Bottas left confused by Mercedes pit stop blame game

Bottas left confused by Mercedes pit stop blame game

F1 News

Bottas left confused by Mercedes pit stop blame game

Bottas left confused by Mercedes pit stop blame game
Ian Parkes & Ewan Gale

Valtteri Bottas has conceded to 'surprise' at being apportioned blame by Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff for the pit stop gaffe that saw him retire from the Monaco Grand Prix.

Bottas heads into this weekend's Azerbaijan GP 58 points behind F1 title leader Max Verstappen after dropping off the podium last time out when his wheel nut became machined onto his front-right axle.

In the aftermath, it was suggested by Wolff the Finn had failed to hit his marks in his pit box, leading to a different angle for the wheel gun to join the wheel nut and contributing to the cross-threading.

"The main thing first is it was nice to hear when we got [the wheel] off, so it is off, so we as a team had to maximise the learning from it," said Bottas.

"There was a detailed analysis of course, what happened, why it happened, how can we prevent that... never happen again in the future so it is all about learning the issue and correcting it.

"I think the team fully understands it now and have made corrections for that and hopefully we don't have the experience again."

Asked if he was surprised to be partially blamed, he added: "Yes, I was surprised. I saw the video and for me, it was pretty spot on where I stopped so I was quite surprised."

On whether he had spoken to Wolff about being accused, Bottas responded: "About that? No not really, just left it there."

Bottas not taking "loser's option" in championship quest

Bottas entered this season beaten by team-mate Lewis Hamilton in each of his four years with Mercedes and his place at the world champions in doubt for the future.

The first five races have seen two pit stop errors and an incident with George Russell hinder his chances and after a winter of mental strength training, Bottas indicated he has been challenged.

"In my case, definitely at the beginning of my season the mental strength has been tested," he explained. "It has not been the easiest ride to start with.

"In the last few races having two DNFs, I would say there has been setbacks and it is all about how you bounce back from those and how you move forward because the loser's option is to give up and it is not something I am going to do.

"I am still keeping very strong mentally and knowing it is a long long season ahead. For sure many good battles to come and hopefully many wins. I have full belief in myself and as a team that we still have time to do good things."

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