Mercedes is confident it will avoid a future repeat of its pit stop blunder at Formula 1’s Sakhir Grand Prix after implementing fixes for its radio “loophole”. 

A previously unseen glitch in its radio messaging system resulted in stand-in George Russell having tyres meant for teammate Valtteri Bottas fitted to his W11 when Mercedes opted to make a ‘safety’ pitstop by double-stacking both cars under a late Safety Car during last weekend’s race. 

The mix up forced Russell to return to the pits for the correct tyres while Bottas was sent back out on his original hard tyres, ruining both drivers’ chances of taking victory in Bahrain.

Ahead of the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff confirmed that the situation has been resolved after work carried out by the team to ensure fixes were put in place. 

“We had an intercom loophole where the channels were all overlapping each other,” Wolff said. 

“So when George’s crew had the call to bring out the tyres they didn’t hear it, because George was talking and the driver channel has priority. 

“What happened is that Ron Meadows called the crews out, red crew and blue crew and the red crew didn’t hear it, so the blue crew went out with Valtteri’s tyres and here was George, so George got Valtteri’s tyres and there were no tyres left for Valtteri and got his old tyres fitted on. 

“I don’t want to go into too much detail but there are several fixes, we have a belt and braces solution.”

Russell fought back from the botched pit stop to find himself back in contention for a fairytale maiden F1 win, only for a late puncture to end his hopes. 

The Briton, who has returned to his usual Williams seat in Abu Dhabi with Hamilton back in action for Mercedes, revealed that his mother and sister were left in tears as he lost out on victory not once but twice. 

“My Mum was in tears, bless her, my sister as well,” Russell said. “We live this together, this sport, and it’s so passionate, emotions are so high, and this was my first opportunity not just to win but to score points and that was such a big difference. 

"Having that taken away from us not once but twice was difficult, but having time to reflect on the weekend I have left with my head held high and proud of the job we managed to achieve last weekend.” 

 

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