Valtteri Bottas has revealed that he beat two-time Olympic Gold medallist Alistair Brownlee in a cycling race after the Formula 1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix was cancelled.
With catastrophic flooding in northern Italy, the Imola race was called off on the Wednesday before the race to ensure emergency services could direct their efforts to the rescue and recovery efforts and not be focused on the race weekend itself.
It gave teams and drivers an unexpected extra week off between the Miami and Monaco Grands Prix with Alfa Romeo driver Bottas revealing that he headed to Scotland and beat Triathlete great Brownlee in a cycling race.
Viewed by others:
Bottas beats Brownlee
"First of all, it's pretty terrible what's happened and I hope the support keeps going," Bottas told media including RacingNews365.
"It was a surreal feeling on Wednesday, everything was packed, I was about to leave from [Monaco] to drive to Imola and I got a call [to say]: 'It's cancelled, stay at home.'
"Then I was like: 'What do I do now?' and there was this gravel cycling race in Scotland that my girlfriend [the Australian Olympic cyclist Tiffany Cromwell] was doing anyway.
"So I found a flight, got myself there and managed to get an entry to this World Series race - I had to race something because I was so hyped for Imola."
Bottas finished 114th in the Men's event, taking a shade over four hours to complete the 70 mile course, while Cromwell emerged victorious from the Women's event.
Also taking part was London 2012 and Rio 2016 triathlon Gold medalist Alistair Brownlee - who finished 213th overall, some 18 minutes behind 118th placed Bottas.
Cromwell finished 87th overall, four minutes ahead of the 10-time Grand Prix winner.
Light at end of tunnel for Alfa
2023 has thus far been a disappointing season for Alfa Romeo, with just six points on the board from the first five races, with Bottas's teammate Zhou Guanyu looking particularly strong against the Finn.
Bottas has reported that the C43 is a good package, but is just lacking overall performance, and feels that the team found some "light at the end of the tunnel" in Miami.
"In Miami qualifying, we managed to find a good setup, good rhythm and it shows it is so close, and that once you get everything right, you can actually achieve much better result than the race before, for example," he said.
"That was good to see and we want to keep that momentum.
"We were planning upgrades for Imola, so now we're obviously trialling those here and hopefully it gives us an extra boost.
"But we're working as hard as we can to get where we want to be, which has not been the case so far this year."
Balve Bains is joined by RacingNews365.com Editorial Director Dieter Rencken and Asia Correspondent Michael Butterworth to ask if Mattia Binotto could really join Alpine, what Pirelli's new tyres are about and the latest on the Red Bull-Ford partnership!