Valtteri Bottas

Interview with PUMA sponsored Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula 1 Team driver Valtteri Bottas

December 10, 2021

Interview with PUMA sponsored Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula 1 Team driver Valtteri Bottas

December 10, 2021

With only one more race remaining of the 2021 Formula 1 season, the 10-time Grand Prix winner Valtteri Bottas took time out of his hectic schedule to meet up with the infamous United Arab Emirates-based drift team ´Lunatics By Nature´ (LBN) to go for some laps. Read the interview to find out more about the PUMA sponsored Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula 1 Team driver and his 800bhp drift car experience at a private drift track outside of Abu Dhabi.

Do you have favorite music to get in the mindset for racing?

Valtteri Bottas: I don’t really listen to music while I’m driving competitively, drifting, or rallying, or before I get in the car. I like to focus on what I have to do in the car before I get in, and then when I’m racing, I want to hear the engine and all the sounds from the car. The engine is my music!

Have you been drifting before? Did you know much about it?

Valtteri Bottas: I’ve taken part in a lot of rallies. I suppose I had done some drifting. The techniques of car control are very similar, but I hadn’t done anything like this before with a proper drift car and on an asphalt drift track. I’ve been driving cars since I was six years old, so that for helps – but for sure the thing that helped me the most is my experience from rallying. In rallying you are always sliding the car and controlling the throttle, the weight transfer, the balance, and everything very differently to how you would drive an F1 car. I found it pretty fun and quick to adjust, and my learning curve was pretty steep.

Did you get a different buzz out of this than circuit racing?

Valtteri Bottas: You definitely get the adrenaline out of it. The sound of the engine is seriously loud in the drift car, and you can smell the melting rubber from the tires. It’s really cool. It is completely different to F1, but it’s for sure a sport that I enjoy.

Your love of Rally has already been talked about a lot – was it easy for you to get the hang of it? Would you consider building a car for drifting?

Valtteri Bottas: Yeah, I’ve started to think about it now. Maybe I should. The guys here in the LBN Team have been building their own cars and have such a good time with it. You can see what they are doing here carries huge passion – and I love to see that. So, you know – never say never!


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How was your year, are you happy with your performance?

Valtteri Bottas: Another year has flown by. It feels like we have just started the season. Now it’s coming to an end, and it’s going to be the last race with Mercedes. The season overall has been a bit up and down. It started pretty bad – the first six or seven races were a big disappointment, which already put me a bit off the championship fight. After that, for the rest of the season the mentality changed a bit. I tried to maximize the points as much as possible and work in a support role, rather than fighting for the title myself. But it is what it is. There have been great moments, but also some really unlucky moments – so it was a bit mixed.

What were your highlights?

Valtteri Bottas: I would say there are a few races that have stood out as highlights this year for me. The win in Turkey for sure. I won a couple of the new format sprint races in Monza and Brazil. I’ve got quite a few pole positions, especially towards the end of the year. Obviously, the highlight would be to finish on top with the team after the last race.

The race in Saudi last weekend was a real thriller, any comments on the experience?

Valtteri Bottas: The race was intense. Even from the very first session out, the margins were so fine. Then during the race, there was all the drama from two red flags. When that happens, the stop-start nature is quite all consuming while you try to stay focused for the re-start. I definitely felt tired after the race, mentally and physically. I kept fighting until the very end and got the podium in the final few meters.

What are your thoughts heading in the final round of the season?

Valtteri Bottas: The main focus has to be on my own race. I will push to get the best out of myself and do the best race possible. It’s important to me to try and finish on the best result possible in my last race with Mercedes. As a team we are still fighting for the drivers and the constructors’ titles, so the focus is on that. But no doubt after the race – when I have time to process; that’s the last Grand Prix with Mercedes, it’s going to be emotional.

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