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Mercedes reveals cause of Bottas' Monaco pit issue

NEWS STORY
30/05/2019

Amidst all the talk of Hamilton's miracle, Leclerc's misery and Verstappen's penalty, little has been said post-Monaco that had Valtteri Bottas not been forced to make a second pit stop following his pitlane clash with Max Verstappen, Mercedes would most likely have scored its sixth 1-2 of the season.

As it happens, when the safety car was deployed after Charles Leclerc's shredding tyre had deposited debris on the track, Mercedes was seeking to do a repeat of the sensational double stack witnessed in China a month earlier.

Unfortunately things didn't go as smoothly in Monaco and as Bottas, having already been delayed during his stop, headed out, he found himself in a head-to-head with Verstappen who had been unsafely released.

The stewards, who noted that Verstappen's release was extremely close, deemed that the Dutchman struck Bottas while continuing to move towards the fast lane and subsequently pulled ahead gaining a sporting advantage following the contact. As a result he was handed a 5s time penalty.

However, in the latest Pure Pitwall video from Mercedes, strategist James Vowles reveals the reason for Bottas' initial delay.

"If you can stop under a safety car in Monaco, it really is the best of all worlds," say the Briton. "From lap 11 we knew we could take the tyres to the end of the race, we believed the medium, but the hard would've easily made it as well and our competitors Vettel and Verstappen knew this too. That's why they came in.

"When you come in for a double-stack safety car, what's really important is making a gap between your cars, so that the first car can be serviced in the pitlane and the second one can slot straight in. And Valtteri did that perfectly on track.

"Lewis had his pitstop, drove out, and you would've seen Valtteri came straight back in again. And now it's a straight race between Vettel, Verstappen and Valtteri for a pitstop.

"Unfortunately as Lewis left, he clipped one of the airguns and it took just a few seconds for them to reset properly and the cost to us was a couple of tenths. That's it, but that's all you need."

Damaging his right-front wheel in the clash with the Red Bull, Bottas had to make a second pit stop next time around, however, because the field had not fully closed up he only lost one position, to Sebastian Vettel, who went on to finish second.

"We had a couple of tenths loss on Valtteri's pit stop," reveals Vowles, "Red Bull had a very, very good pit stop, one of the best of the year for them, and those extremes meant that as the cars went out and were in the pit lane, Verstappen came alongside, hit the left-hand side of Valtteri's car, pushing the right-hand side into the wall and damaging that front-right wheel.

"We can see tyre pressures and we had a quick look at them to see what was going on, and after a few corners, when Valtteri was back out on track, it became evident that we had a problem and we were starting to lose pressure.

"We had to react then and there to bring Valtteri straight back in. If we waited any longer, Valtteri would've been last. We brought Valtteri back in the pit lane, fitted the hard tyre, which was the best of the tyres (but) not known at the time, and then he re-joined back in P4."

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1. Posted by C5, 31/05/2019 22:36

""the cars went out and were in the pit lane, Verstappen came alongside, hit the left-hand side of Valtteri's car, pushing the right-hand side into the wall and damaging that front-right wheel". 5 second penalty.

Also, why hasn't Leclerc gotten a penalty for unnecessarily causing the safety car in the first place?

F1 is a joke. And a stupid dad-joke at that.
"

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