Toto Wolff called the Monaco Grand Prix a “cursed race” for Mercedes after Valtteri Bottas retired from second place and Lewis Hamilton finished seventh.
Hamilton and Mercedes were leading both the drivers’ and constructors’ championships heading into the race in Monaco, but a poor qualifying from the defending champion left him seventh on the grid. Bottas started from third but was up to second courtesy of Charles Leclerc’s pre-race issues. However, he was then forced to retire when a wheel nut machined onto the axle during his pit stop, meaning his tires could not be changed.
“We were always on the backfoot, it seems to be a kind of cursed race track for us,” Wolff said. “It’s a little bit like Singapore where we never got down to the problems until very late. When you start on the backfoot and have no grip and no trust in the car, it’s very difficult to recover.
“A little bit easier for Valtteri who had the pace, but overall a weekend to forget. Well not to forget, because we’re going to put the finger in where it hurts most and try to learn.”
— Formula 1 (@F1) May 24, 2021
In 2018, Ferrari’s success at the opening race saw it lead both championships, but to lose the lead this time in such a major turnaround is something Wolff wants Mercedes to learn from.
“We were behind Ferrari two years ago,” Wolff said. “We had 29 points to Red Bull and we’re one behind now. It isn’t the prettiest of pictures and Lewis is behind, too, by four points. But it’s clear that it will go until the very end and I hope the seven points are going to make the difference. Let’s just learn, move on and conquer again.”
While Hamilton’s result was costly in the drivers’ standings, Wolff acknowledged it is Bottas who also seems to be getting the greater share of bad luck at the moment.
“Very frustrating for him, because it seems he’s cursed,” he said. “Valtteri said he saw the aluminum bits fly off in the front.
“We need to look, whether it’s a design issue or if we had a catastrophic failure of a few systems. We just machined the whole nut off, I’ve never seen anything like this, there was no part there anymore.”