Mercedes F1 driver Valtteri Bottas clinched four victories in the 2019 Formula 1 season. Last weekend the Finn added another triumph to the list of successes, but in a rally car.
With the Citroen DS3 WRC Bottas won the event “Rallycircuit Cote d’Azur” in France and celebrated his first victory.
For the 30-year-old this event was a welcome change: “Surely it doesn’t hurt,” he says. “I like it, it’s fun and the most important thing is to do a few fun things between the races.”
“You need the right balance in your life and you also need to do other things that make you happy and help you free your mind to recharge the batteries. Apart from that, his rally trips would have other advantages.
F1 fans will recall the horrific injury suffered by Robert Kubica when he attended and competed in a rally event. The Pole explained at the time he wanted to compete in rallying for precisely the same reasons Bottas states.
“It’s a very good sport because you play with your car all the time. There’s no time when you’re actually just sitting there waiting for something to happen,
“There is always something you have to do to save the car and the situation. In this respect, it improves your responsiveness and your control over the car,” Bottas analyses.
“It’s about being able to adapt very quickly to things so that you’re ready in one or two corners instead of after two. But it’s a brilliant sport.”
Botta is planning further rally races, after his success in France he wants to compete in Lapland in January. You can watch the Finn drive last weekend, from an onboard video link here.
In other Bottas news, ex F1 driver Mark Webber believes that Bottas lacks in fight and needs to toughen up a bit in order to compete at next years title.
“It’s been a tough season for Valtteri,” said Webber, speaking during Channel 4’s podcast.
“Ferrari were meant to come out of the blocks after winter testing, it didn’t happen, and Mercedes came out of the blocks and were very strong.
“Then we had the resurgence of Ferrari in the middle of the year, and again Lewis just showed his experience in dealing with that hot kitchen when Ferrari did arrive.
“Bottas in terms of wheel-to-wheel, that hunger that fight, going down swinging, often we still miss a bit of that with Valtteri.” says the Australian.
Perhaps a touch of rustic rallying in Scandinavia might help for 2020?