Valtteri Bottas had looked to take the fight to Red Bull’s Max Verstappen for the win around the streets of Monte Carlo, but his hopes were cruelly ended by a bizarre pit stop issue during a nightmare race for the reigning world champions. 

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When Bottas came into the pits on Lap 30 to change tyres, Mercedes was unable to get the front-right tyre off Bottas’ car, leaving him stuck in the pits.

Despite Mercedes’ best efforts, the team was forced to retire the Finn’s car, ending his race prematurely.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff refused to blame the wheel gun operator for what he described as a “catastrophic” failure.

After the race, Mercedes technical director James Allison said the wheel nut had become machined in place by the wheel gun, something the team had never experienced before to that extent.

While it had faced pit stop delays in the past for similar problems, Monaco marked the first time that the issue proved terminal and resulted in a DNF.

Allison also revealed that the wheel nut was still stuck after the race and would have to be removed back at its Brackley factory using specialist equipment.

Two days after the race had finished, on Tuesday morning at 09:59 am, Mercedes was finally able to prize the wheel from Bottas’ car.

It shared the moment in a video posted on social media.

Explaining the incident, Mercedes chief strategist James Vowles said: “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.

“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.”