Bottas escaped repeat of Monaco wheel nut misfortune on way to fifth

2022 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

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Valtteri Bottas scored his best result since joining Alfa Romeo yesterday after almost suffering a repeat of the disastrous pit stop which put him out of last year’s Monaco Grand Prix

A cross-threaded right-front wheel nut halted Bottas’ second place run in Monaco last year while he was driving for Mercedes. The team was unable to remove it with conventional pit stop equipment, meaning his tyre couldn’t be swapped and he was forced to retire.

The same problem struck on the same corner of his car when Bottas made his sole pit stop at Imola yesterday. Fortunately for him, his Alfa Romeo team were able to correct it, though not without losing a significant amount of time.

“At the pit stop we had a problem with the right-front,” explained the team’s head of track engineering Xevi Pujolar. “Initially a cross-thread, but we could recover that and then we were able to secure the wheel nut properly. That cost 11, 12 seconds if we didn’t have that.”

The lost time was a mixed blessing, said Pujolar, as it allowed George Russell to pull further ahead of Bottas, but also allowed the Alfa Romeo driver to run in clear air for longer, which was better for his tyres.

“We didn’t lose any positions, but we lost the gap to Russell,” he said. “For sure we would have been closer to Russell and Norris, could have challenged him.

“The question mark is when you are in traffic then what happens with your right front [tyre]? Because he was in free air, we were very strong and we’re able to manage the tyres well, keeping a good pace. If you fight all the way, we could probably get a better position, you can also damage more the fronts.”

Bottas was also delayed at the start of the race when Carlos Sainz Jnr and Daniel Ricciardo collided. He was unable to avoid hitting the McLaren, which left the team worried about the state of his front wing.

“We had a big hit on the front wing, we thought that we would damage our front wing because it was a significant hit,” said Pujolar. “He mentioned that and then we had to look at all our data and, when the car was going past, a visual inspection and everything was okay.”

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2022 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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6 comments on “Bottas escaped repeat of Monaco wheel nut misfortune on way to fifth”

  1. He could’ve finished a position higher without that 11.8 sec stop.
    Good thing he at least avoided a Monaco repeat.

  2. One of the biggest surprises of the season, the form of Alfa Romeo and Bottas. They seem to be doing their thing without much of media attention.

    1. I said it while he was at Williams, I said it while he was at Mercedes and now I’m saying it while he’s at Alfa Romeo: Bottas could win a race in reverse, on fire while being chased by a herd of angry Wildebeest and for some reason no one would notice. He never, ever, gets the credit he is due.

      He makes the job of being a top level Grand Prix driver look so easy that people just overlook him. It annoys me no end!

      1. If he would have won the championship most of the people would have said he won just because of the car and just because Hamilton had all the bad luck and would have been his worst season by far. He was there on qualifying and most of the times he was there with the race pace. He was against the combination of Hamilton/his car/Toto. I think Bottas isn’t as mediasexy as someone would like him to be. He is a gp3 champion in the end.

  3. I think Bottas – and Magnussen & Albon are very much carrying their teams on their backs. Their performances have elevated the machinery they’ve got to places it probably shouldn’t be.

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