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How moving away from Mercedes helped Bottas embrace his lighter side

Since being let loose from the global corporate brand of Mercedes, Valtteri Bottas has embraced more of the fun aspects of being a Formula 1 driver. He discusses why the move to Alfa Romeo helped him become more extroverted in an exclusive chat with RacingNews365.com.

Deciding to move out the most successful Formula 1 team of all time during its peak has to go down as one of the most difficult moves a driver can make in their career. Valtteri Bottas did exactly this at the end of 2021 with Mercedes, moving aside for young team protégé George Russell and switching to Alfa Romeo to embark on a new chapter in his F1 career. The move out of a race-winning team was seen as strange for the Finn when it seemed like new opportunities were on the horizon at the beginning of a big new regulation change. "It's not really strange. Life changes and you go through the different chapters in your career," he said in an exclusive interview with RacingNews365.com . "The length of time [you take] to prepare to be in a different team and [have] different targets, etc. So it is not strange, I would say it is the situation I'm in and focused for." It turned out to be more of a side step for Bottas, who believes his move away from Mercedes has been made easier by the fact that they are now having to play catch up to rivals Red Bull and Ferrari. "Don't get me wrong. I do miss winning and being having a chance to win. But maybe that made the transition slightly easier," he explained.

From the outside I don't probably seem like a typical Finn anymore

Valtteri Bottas

Since leaving Mercedes it appears Bottas has been embracing his lighter side, particularly on social media now he does not have to conform as much to the corporate image of a global car brand. Embracing the fun and games of being an F1 driver has arguably been a revelation for the once-introverted Finn, whether its posting NSFW photos from a Finnish lake or sporting a 80s-style mullet and moustache during the off-season. "I just decided I wanted to do a mullet! So then I did it and let people think what they think. It's the same with the moustache," he says nonchalantly. "From the outside I don't probably seem like a typical Finn anymore. I think I'm just more comfortable with everything; F1 and life."

A quick scan through the his social media shows how partner Tiffany Cromwell often plays the role of 'Instagram Girlfriend' for some of the picturesque adventures they venture on outside of race weekends. Cromwell - who herself is an accomplished cyclist from Australia - has been a key member of Team Bottas over the last few years. Bottas credits her with enabling him to discover the fun side of what can be a challenging life as an athlete. "I would describe her as a free spirit, she really tries to get the most out of life," says Bottas. "She's given me a slightly different view on certain things, and for sure your partner you live with has an effect no matter what, but I think also the change in the people I have discovered. "I think it's a combination of many things; the environment, the getting older and actually not taking things as seriously as you should, and have some fun in life as well with some boredom."

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