Valtteri Bottas, a 33-year-old Finnish driver, competes for Alfa Romeo after driving five years alongside Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes. Following his departure from the German manufacturer, ten-time grand-prix winner Bottas signed a multi-year contract with Alfa Romeo last year. We at Paddock Magazine had the opportunity to walk down to the grid with Valtteri Bottas before the drivers’ parade at this year’s final race in Abu Dhabi. Join us and walk through the paddock with Valtteri.
Click here to subscribe to our print edition!
How could you summarize and rate your first year with Alfa Romeo?
Well, we started the season strong, but then there was a bit difficult period for us. I would probably give myself 7.5 points out of 10. Actually, it’s close to what I expected coming into the season. There are many things to improve for the team and me. All in all, it’s been positive.
Was it challenging to cope with the fact that you could not fight for victories this year?
It’s OK, I had to reset my goals completely, and I have no issues with that. It’s a long-term project with the team, and we want to get closer to the top positions together. My biggest motivation is to keep improving and get ourselves further up to the grid.
I’d probably give myself 7.5 points out of 10.
You advised your teammate in Interlagos on the team radio where to overtake the Williams. What is it like working with Guanyu?
He’s an excellent driver and an intelligent guy. He’s very young but still mature. He’s a good team player, therefore we can work well together. He’s developed a lot through the season and has a bright future ahead.
Can you fight for podiums in 2023?
We need to make a big step forward for that. Never say never – it’s not impossible, but it doesn’t seem easy at this point. The main goal would be to finish in the top 10 consistently. If we can achieve that, we might get a podium if we have a bit of luck.
You said earlier that you enjoy F1 much more as you have a multi-year contract. Is it because you put too much pressure on yourself?
That’s true. I put too much pressure on my own shoulders. I wanted to get everything done very quickly, and sometimes there were better ways of doing things. In the meantime, I developed a lot, so it’s not a problem anymore.
You can always learn from other drivers, but it was special with Lewis.
Did you become a better driver after racing multiple years alongside such a great champion like Lewis?
For sure, I learned a lot from Lewis. You can always learn from other drivers, but it was unique with Lewis, who is a seven-time world champion. I learned a lot from him about setting up the car and working together for the team.
What’s the main difference between the Mercedes and Alfa Romeo atmosphere?
There is less pressure here, that’s inevitable. We’re a small team, which is quite lovely and has many advantages. My role in the team is quite different from what I had before. I have more responsibilities, and I enjoy driving for Alfa Romeo a lot.
Is cycling the main thing that keeps you fit for the races?
Yes, I spend lots of hours cycling. I already have some excellent and exciting winter routes, so I’m looking forward to that.
Does that mean you are going somewhere hot for a holiday?
I’ll be in Australia for around five or six weeks at least, so the weather won’t be a problem.
I’m not following it, and I don’t even have a favourite team.
We know you’re not a big fan of football. Are you following the World Cup still?
As you mentioned – I’m not really into football, so to be honest with you, I’m not following it, and I don’t even have a favourite team.