Wolff brands Mercedes’ Monaco GP ‘a disaster day’ after Bottas pit stop failure and Hamilton’s P7
Toto Wolff was typically blunt when describing one of Mercedes' worst race days in recent history, as Valtteri Bottas was forced to retire from a podium position thanks to a pit stop gone wrong, and Lewis Hamilton was left salvaging points for the team in P7 at Monaco.
Bottas’s race ended on Lap 31 when he came in for a pit stop and the crew couldn’t remove one of his soft tyres, with the wheel nut of his right-front slick having become machined onto the axle. As for Hamilton, he qualified seventh, was bumped up a position as pole sitter Charles Leclerc failed to start but still ended up seventh at the flag.
Wolff began his Monaco post-mortem by saying: “Valtteri, that was a disaster day for him, and it wasn’t any better for us either. We lacked the pace all weekend, it’s as simple as that, and then the pitstop failure that we had is something that we need to understand because we completely machined the wheel nut. And with Lewis, we just didn’t have the pace in the car.
“Yes, I’d rather have taken third and seventh than only seventh but you have to take it on the chin. Today we lost a couple of points, a few points. This is a long championship, it’s going to swing either way and at the end we’ll see in Abu Dhabi who’s going to have their nose ahead – and that’s it.”
As for Hamilton’s pit stop, the Briton was clearly vexed after the race because an attempt to bring him in early on Lap 29 and undercut Pierre Gasly ended with Hamilton not only behind Gasly, but behind Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull’s Sergio Perez. Regardless, Wolff maintained that the team’s strategy call was no mistake.
“The undercut looked like the only feasible way of clearing Gasly and with the tyre warm-up and then you know just the gap that he had before, the one, one and a half seconds was sufficient for him to stay ahead,” said Wolff.
“There wasn’t any mistake; the out-lap was good, the pit stop was OK, but it just wasn’t enough,” he added.
So for the first time since 2017, there was no podium for Mercedes at Monaco and therefore no party – as Wolff stated to 2013, ’14 and ’15 Monaco GP winner Nico Rosberg.
“I had more fun when we won in 2013 and we partied until seven o clock in the morning with you,” said Wolff. “Somebody drank the water from the flowers. And this time there’s going to be no party. I’m going home, I’m going to look at the data, watch the race again, and have a pizza.”
Mercedes leave Monaco second in the championship for the first time since the 2018 British Grand Prix, as they trail Red Bull by one point.