Toto Wolff was blunt in describing one of Mercedes’ worst racing days in recent history, as Valtteri Bottas was forced to withdraw from a podium position as a result of a pit stop that went wrong, and Lewis Hamilton was left saving points for the team in a modest P7 in Monaco.
Bottas’ race ended on lap 31 when he pitted and the team was unable to remove one of his soft tires as the wheel nut on his right front slick had been machined into the axle and is still trapped there. As for Hamilton, he qualified seventh, and advancing one position thanks to the Ferrari disaster that could not get poleman Charles Leclerc’s car ready for Sunday.
Wolff began his reflection on what happened in Monaco saying that: “Valtteri, it was a day of disaster for him, and it was not better for us either. We lacked rhythm all weekend, it’s as simple as that, and then the pitstop failure we had is something we have to understand because we completely machined the wheel nut. And with Lewis, we just didn’t have the pace in the car. “
“Yes, I would rather have finished third and seventh than just seventh, but you have to face it. Today we have lost a couple of points, a few. This is a long championship, it is going to swing to either side and in the end we will see in Abu Dhabi who will have the nose first, and that’s it ”.
Regarding the Hamilton pit stop, the Briton was clearly angry after the race that an attempt to get him early on lap 29 and undercut Pierre Gasly ended with Hamilton not only behind Gasly, but behind Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel, and Sergio Pérez, from Red Bull. Despite this, Wolff maintained that the team’s strategic decision was not a mistake.
“The undercut was our only chance,” said the Austrian. “We saw that the tire was degrading and there was no rubber left on Lewis’s car. There was a discussion between him and the strategists about the undercut, and we thought the undercut was our best chance to get the advantage over Gasly, but it wasn’t enough. “
“It was a good save, but Gasly was a second and a half ahead and kept that gap,” explained Wolff. “We thought a second and a half would be enough on the pit exit lap, but it wasn’t.”
So, for the first time since 2017, there was no podium for Mercedes in Monaco and therefore no party, as Wolff declared Nico Rosberg, winner of the 2013 Monaco GP, 14-15.
“I had more fun when we won in 2013 and we partied until seven in the morning with you,” Wolff said. “Someone drank the water from the flowers. And this time there will be no party. I’m going home, I’m going to look at the data, watch the race again and eat a pizza. “
Mercedes leaves Monaco second in the championship for the first time since the 2018 British Grand Prix, as it trails Red Bull by one point. For the first time since 2013, Red Bull has taken the lead in both World Cup rankings, never before in the hybrid era.