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Valtteri Bottas

Bahrain pitstop drama 'second worst of my career' - Bottas

The Finn's race was ruined after a slow pit-stop thanks to a wheel nut issue at his second pit-stop.

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Valtteri Bottas believes a cross-threaded wheel nut was to blame for his "second worst pit-stop in history" in the Bahrain Grand Prix.

At his second pit-stop of the season-opener, Bottas was delayed by nearly a minute in his pit-box after an issue with the front-left wheel nut as it became cross-threaded and the team scrambled to find a solution.

He was eventually sent on his way to record a 19th-place finish, with the Finn making a reference to the 2021 Monaco Grand Prix and his issue then.

Called in from second place by Mercedes, the right-front wheel nut would not budge off the W12, meaning the team could not complete the stop and Bottas retiring from a certain podium.

Mercedes was unable to get the wheel-nut off until the car returned to Brackley, nearly two days later, meaning Bottas does hold the record for slowest pit-stop in F1 history.

He also had a bungled lengthy stop at the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix when Mercedes inadvertently put George Russell's tyres on his car - something the rules forbid.

"It was a front-left wheel nut issue, it seems like something got stuck or cross-threaded," Bottas said when asked by RacingNews365 what had happened.

"We will investigate and now the main thing is to understand because it shouldn't happen.

"It was my second-worst pit-stop in history, so hopefully it's not the same spec wheel-nut!"

As for his race, Bottas described being caught in a "sandwich" at Turn 1, when he appeared to make contact with Nico Hulkenberg, who in turn tapped Lance Stroll into a spin.

Bottas emerged with a broken front-wing end-plate from the incident.

"The first corner was a bit of a sandwich, like it was almost a full stop at the apex," Bottas added.

"It was a couple of times, stop, start and go again or somebody else will hit me from behind, so it was a bit of a sandwich.

"I got some front-wing damage, which actually didn't feel like it had that huge of an effect, but the main thing is that I was at the back of the train - and then the pitstop was 52 seconds in a tight midfield.

"You can't really give [away] 52 seconds in a pit-stop."

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