Mercedes Formula 1 boss Toto Wolff admits his team made a “colossal fuck up” with a tyre mix-up that cost what should have been a debut win for George Russell.

Russell had controlled proceedings having snatched the lead from pole sitter Valtteri Bottas at the start and appeared on course to record a maiden victory on his first race appearance for Mercedes as stand-in for Lewis Hamilton following the seven-time world champion’s positive COVID-19 test.

But a late Safety Car - deployed when Jack Aitken, driving Russell’s usual Williams car, broke off his front wing after spinning into the barriers on the start-finish straight - turned the race dramatically on its head.

Mercedes did not need to pit its cars but opted to make a safety stop which ended up being a calamitous double-stack as both drivers were heavily delayed following a tyre mix-up.

Russell had to stop again on the next lap after accidentally being put onto a mixed set of Mediums, while Bottas suffered a long delay as his crew had to re-fit his old Hard tyres back onto his car.

The error threw away a potential win as Bottas struggled to eighth, one place ahead of Russell, who recovered from a late puncture to claim his long-awaited first points in F1.

Mercedes are under investigation for two offences related to their botched double pit-stop. 

"After the race, the FIA noted: "When car number 63 pitted for a tyre change at 21:16hrs, the team fitted on the front axle tyres allocated to car number 77," an FIA statement read. 

"Car number 63 left the pit lane and returned after one lap in order to fit a correctly allocated set of tyres. As this is not in compliance with Articles 24.2 a) and 24.3 e), I am referring this matter to the stewards for their consideration."

“Overall for us it was a colossal fuck up,” Wolff told Sky F1. “I know I’m not allowed to say that but it was.

“Simply one of the tyre crews didn’t hear the call, we had a radio failure in the garage and when the car came in they didn’t know we had the wrong tyres and this is why we exited with the wrong tyres.”

Asked if Bottas’ tyres being fitted to Russell’s car was the mistake made by Mercedes, Wolff replied: “Exactly. Then we had to obviously pit again but by then the race was not lost.

“It was a safety stop. We were fine on the Hards and we could have stayed out but we had the gap and you do these things. You can question it but I think it’s absolutely the right call.”