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Valtteri Bottas

Mercedes explain why Bottas' wheel nut got so damaged

Mercedes' James Vowles has explained that the wheel gun going onto Valtteri Bottas' car at a slight angle resulted in the whole nut becoming destroyed.

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To news overview © Mercedes

Valtteri Bottas's wheel nut became so damaged as a result of a slight angle when the Mercedes driver came into the pits, the team have explained.

The Finn was forced to retire from the Monaco GP during his one and only pit stop on Sunday, as a result of his right front wheel nut rounding off and meaning the tyre couldn't be taken off his car.

The incident was a bizarre occurrence for Mercedes, with Chief Strategist James Vowles explaining that the problem happened as a result of the wheel gun going on at a very slight angle.

"Our nuts are what we call captive, they are maintained within the wheel and the tyre, so as the wheel comes off the nut goes with it," Vowles explained during the team's official debrief with the media.

Vowles held up a new wheel nut to show the ridged area of the nut, explaining that the gun slots over it to apply force to loosen it.

"When the gun connects, and it removes the nut, such that the nut is now lose and the wheel comes off the car, this is what we would typically expect to see," he said.

"This nut has to hold a wheel to the car such it can cope with 5G forces in braking and laterally as well. It’s a huge amount of force going through the axle and the nut and clearly we can never have it coming loose.

"So, the gun is an incredibly powerful gun, such that you can actually see the mechanics having to restrain themselves holding themselves to the ground otherwise they get rotated with it at the same time. It’s an impact force and what happens is the nut typically loosens in four or five impacts against it. A hammering action.

""What happened is we came on slightly angled, so when the socket was now connected to the nut, it slightly angled relative to it and as a result of that, now instead of distributing the load across all of the nut it was across a small section and that tore the metal clean off and in fact all of the metal was now removed from the nut. As a result of that, the nut was in place and we were unable to remove it."

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