Whitmarsh feels for mechanic
McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh was left to put a consoling arm around one member of his team after a "classic bad day at the office".
After asserting following last Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix that mistakes needed to be limited in order to win the championship in a highly competitive season, errors again undid McLaren in Bahrain on Sunday.
Sadly, for one unnamed team member especially, it has been a wretched two races to forget, which resulted in him beating himself up and being asked to step aside for Lewis Hamilton's final pit stop.
In China last week, Jenson Button was denied a shot at victory by a slow final change of tyres as the left wheel nut cross-threaded at the first time of asking.
On Sunday, at Hamilton's first stop, the drive pegs failed to align, again at the left rear, a fault Whitmarsh claims was not of the gunman's making.
Fourteen laps later, another cross-thread with the same wheel delayed Hamilton, forcing Whitmarsh to make the change.
So from second on the grid, Hamilton was forced to settle for eighth, ultimately losing his championship lead to Red Bull race winner Sebastian Vettel who took the chequered flag for the 22nd time in his career.
"Any guy who volunteers to be a gunman in a team is a brave guy," said Whitmarsh.
"These guys are mechanics who don't get paid extra for doing it, who put themselves in the firing line and under an enormous amount of pressure.
"I've been speaking to him just now because I know how hard he is being on himself. I'm very protective of my staff because they deserve my protection.
"He's taken it very badly, but I've given him the reassurance and support of this team.
"It has to be remembered all of us, from team principal down, make mistakes from time to time.
"It's pretty bloody annoying when we do it, and we're often more understanding of other people than we are when we make our own mistakes.
"But there's a lot of pressure these days with three-second stops, and everyone knows the last gun off is the one that dictates the speed of that change.
"So if it hasn't been going well for you, it is an enormously stressful position to be in.
"We did have to change him for the last stop of the race because he took it fairly badly."
Hamilton also plans to offer a kind word as he said: "I don't know who he is, but I will go and see the guy, try and lift him up.
"That's all I can do really, otherwise it's about doing my best and trying to remain positive."
To rub salt into McLaren wounds, Button's hopes of sixth place - potentially fifth as he was closing in on Nico Rosberg in his Mercedes - were wrecked by a late puncture and cracked exhaust, forcing him to retire a lap from home.
"That was the classic bad day at the office," added Whitmarsh.
"We had two bad pit stops, a puncture caused by an exhaust failure which damaged the (differential), and we were slow.
"We didn't have the pace, but then a few other things went wrong to make it a really difficult afternoon for everyone."
Reigning champion Vettel's victory, which has lifted him four points clear of Hamilton, was relatively straightforward after starting from pole for the 31st time.
There was a time when he came under pressure from Kimi Raikkonen but he kept the Finn at bay to leave Lotus in second and third as Romain Grosjean stood on the podium for the first time in his career.
"It was an incredible race. Extremely tough," said Vettel after becoming the fourth different victor this year, a scenario not seen in F1 since 2003.
"We will have a good time now and then push harder so that we are there again in the next race.
"But it's a very tight season, cars are very close to each other and small things can make a huge difference on a Sunday."
Mark Webber finished fourth for the fourth consecutive race, but trails Vettel by just five points, with Rosberg fifth and Paul Di Resta sixth in his Force India after adopting a two-stop strategy in comparison to three for those around him.
Rosberg, meanwhile, avoided any action from the FIA after being involved in two separate incidents with Hamilton and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, who finished seventh.
That is despite Alonso fuming with the German over the radio at the time, and again after the race, claiming he could have been seriously injured but for the width of the track at that point.
Alonso said: "I can only say that if, instead of such a wide run-off area, there had been a wall, I'm not sure I'd be here now to talk about it."