14 Facts About Valtteri Bottas You Didn’t Know

As the number two driver for Mercedes-Benz and having helped steer both the team and Lewis Hamilton toward multiple Constructors and Drivers Championship, Valtteri Bottas has become a household name. Here are fourteen facts you may not know about the Flying Finn.

While Valtteri Bottas’ exploits on the racing track may be well known, his personal life, hobbies, opinions, business ventures, and family life are kept relatively quiet. Therefore, the fourteen facts below are meant to showcase the lesser-known side of one of racing’s biggest stars.

With a career spanning over 26 years since his success with karting at six years of age, Valtteri Bottas has built a name for himself both on and off the track. Let’s look at some of these lesser-known facts now.

If you’re looking for some F1 merchandise, check out the awesome stuff at the official F1 store here.


1. Valtteri Bottas Races Under The Number 77

Most professional drivers, as well as sports stars across various sports, have particular meanings or stories behind the number they choose to drive/play under. Oddly enough, Valtteri Bottas chose the number 77 for no real reason at all:

“To be honest, not really! It’s pretty simple I liked seven, so I thought seven-seven would be good. And actually seven was already taken by Kimi [Räikkönen]. So then I just thought double seven would be good, so go for it.”

At times used in social media posts as “Va77eri”, the number 7 has proven to be a lucky number for Valtteri Bottas, similar to its affiliation with fellow Finnish Driver Kimi Räikkönen, given his immense success since adopting it.

While we’ve yet to get the Iceman’s take on Valtteri Bottas’ use of the number seven, we’ve no doubt the fellow Flying Finn was probably widely indifferent, as has become customary from himself and fellow Nordic champions!

Valtteri Bottas has furthered the number 77 as part of Finish racing iconography, having adorned his helmet and boots with navy blue and white, as well as the use of the Finish Flag accompanying the number 77 on his racing gear.


2. Valtteri Bottas Served In The Military

Like all males in Finland, Valtteri Bottas was called up for mandatory military service and conscription to the Finnish Army between 2008 and 2009, at the age of eighteen.

While this was following his championship wins in both the 2008 Formula Renault Eurocup and the 2008 Formula Renault Northern European Cup, and prior to his entry in Formula 3, Valtteri Bottas still served in the military as required of him.

During his time in the military, Valtteri Bottas was said to have served with distinction and leadership, earning him the rank of lance corporal and recognition from his fellow servicemen, having been voted “Top Soldier” upon completion of its service.

While not much time was spent behind the wheel of the car, with the focus naturally being on survival skills in Finland’s frozen tundra and the handling of firearms, Valtteri Bottas is of the belief that military service was vital to his Formula One success:

“I felt like it turned me from a boy to a man. You definitely learn more about yourself. You also learn to work well with a team and the benefit of being able to work for something bigger together as a group.”

“Driving skills I didn’t really learn, but I learned how to shoot and how to start fires in -30 degrees Celsius during the Finnish winter. Of course I learned some form of discipline aside from a lot of cool experiences, and it definitely put things into perspective.”

This belief of becoming an adult and taking on huge responsibilities at a young age would speak to Valtteri Bottas’ recognition as one of the best Formula One teammates of all time (more on that below.)


3. Valtteri Bottas Has A Burger Named After Him

Getting into the world of professional racing isn’t just a massive time commitment; it also comes at a large financial expense for families hoping to afford everything needed for young racers to begin their careers in karting.

Valtteri Bottas and his family were no different in this regard, having come from a humble background, meaning that from the age of six, Valtteri Bottas looked for sponsors to assist with the costs of karting.

Fortunately for the young Valtteri Bottas, a local fast-food restaurant in his hometown of Nastola known as the Kiosk Bar helped fund his racing ambitions from an early age and do so throughout his karting career.

In honor of Valtteri Bottas’ success, the Kiosk Bar makes and sells the Bottas Burger for €7.70 (as per Valtteri Bottas’ racing number 77 explained above).

While it may have a hefty price tag, the Bottas Burger is no slouch, consisting of two steaks, onion, cheese, tomato, and mayonnaise (with a full lunch option for the hungrier diner, known as Valterri’s Paddock lunch.)

Some other curious food stories around Valtteri Bottas include his love of ice cream and his pizza-making hobby at home.

Outside of junk food, Valtteri Bottas tends to eat porridge before a race, as a reminder from his an old family member to eat porridge every day to help him grow (a story told to a young Valtteri Bottas when he was too short to go-karting.)


4. Valtteri Bottas Co-Owns A Coffee Shop

Like many Finnish people, Valtteri Bottas loves a good cup of coffee, having often been seen sporting a mug or flask with his drink of choice (a shot of strong espresso, always black with no sugar or sweetener.)

This love of coffee has extended to Valtteri Bottas’ business ventures outside of motorsport, as the founder and co-owner of Kahiwa Coffee Roastery in Lahti, Finland.

Kahiwa Coffee Roastery has proven a remarkable successful business venture with great coffee, merchandise, and an assortment of snacks for all discerning customers.

Furthermore, it would seem that Valtteri Bottas’ winning mindset has translated into his business, as Kashiwa Coffee Roastery was both the host and winner of the 2021 Aeropress Finnish Championships – no small feat given the stiff competition from Finland’s world-renowned coffee roasters!

The award-winning recipe was as follows:

  • 11g of light roasted washed Guatemalan coffee,
  • 200ml pure Lahti water filtered through the Salpausselkä ridge,
  • An inverted double filter at the ready,
  • Start by pouring 60ml water and stir for fifteen seconds,
  • Pour the remaining 140ml of water. Wet the filter and put in the plunger,
  • Wait 2 minutes and 10 seconds,
  • Light agitation, turn the aero press and plunge for 20 seconds,
  • Serve and enjoy!

To see the website for yourself for worldwide shipping, feel free to use the following link:


5. Valtteri Bottas Started His Own Duathlon

Like many Formula One athletes such as Sergio Perez and former teammate Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas has used his platform to raise funds and bring awareness to pressing issues, primarily through the medium of his love of fitness.

Having been held annually since 2017 in different locations across Valtteri Bottas’ native Finland, the Valtteri Bottas Duathlon has been used as a fundraiser for various charities and causes while promoting exercise and healthy living.

While a duathlon can prove challenging (being an event that includes a running leg followed by a cycling leg, and then completed with a final running leg), the Valtteri Bottas caters for people of all athletic abilities to help raise as many funds as possible, while being fun and accessible for all participants.

There is also a heavy focus on drawing attention to caring for the environment, with any form of littering resulting in a one-minute time penalty for any offenders!

For a full breakdown of the event, its costs, rules, prizes, different categories, and how to register for the next duathlon held in Pajulahti on the 21st of August 2022, feel free to use the following link:


6. Valtteri Bottas Married An Olympic Swimmer

Given Valtteri Bottas’ close association with Finland and his love of sport, it’s no surprise that his partner would be an athlete, with few Finnish athletes having achieved the success of Emilia Pikkarainen.

Emilia Pikkarainen is a Finnish swimmer and the national record holder for:

  • The 50 meters butterfly (26.90),
  • The 100 meters butterfly (59.02),
  • The 200 meters butterfly (2:10.89), and
  • The 200 meters individual medley (2:14.23)

Having started her professional swimming career from the age of fifteen, Emilia Pikkarainen competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the 2012 London Olympics, and the 2016 Rio Olympics as a member of the Finnish team in the 4 × 100-meter medley.

Having begun dating in 2010 and later married in 2016 at St. John’s Church in Helsinki, the couple sadly announced their separation divorce in 2019 as a result of Valtteri Bottas’ lifestyle challenges stemming from his Formula One travel commitments.


7. Valtteri Bottas Lives In Monaco

Although Valtteri Bottas still spends a significant amount of time visiting friends and family in Finland, as well as vacationing at his lake home, he joins numerous other Formula One drivers on the grid that have moved to Monaco in recent years.

Prior to moving to Monaco, Valtteri Bottas lived in Oxford, United Kingdom, for four years, given the proximity to the Mercedes Headquarters in Brackley.

While Valtteri Bottas maintains that Finland remains his favorite country, he has taken to the outdoor lifestyle promoted by Monaco, spending a significant amount of his downtime hiking, cycling, and sailing.

Although he is unable to play his second favorite sport, ice hockey, there’s no doubt that Valtteri Bottas maintains his fitness in the off-season in and around Monaco’s sweeping vistas.


8. Valtteri Bottas’ Management Team

Due to Valtteri Bottas’ success throughout his racing career and outstanding references from some of the sport’s biggest figures, such as Frank Williams, it’s no surprise that Valtteri Bottas was able to attract some big names to his management team.

The most notable being the Belgium businessman Didier Coton and two-time world champion driver Mika Häkkinen (one of Finland’s most successful professional drivers and Valtteri Bottas’ idol growing up.)

Another familiar name in Valtteri Bottas’ management camp was Mercedes-Benz team principal, Toto Wolff. However, the association between Valtteri Bottas’ personal management team and Toto Wolff ended in January of 2017.

With Toto Wolff going on record to say:

“It would be a conflict of interest to be involved in the management of a driver and equally being his boss and running the team.”

It’s yet to be seen if further changes will be effected to Valtteri Bottas’ management team in 2022 as part of his new contract with Alfa Romeo, but there is no doubting that his ability to attract talented support members is unrivaled by very few other drivers on the grid! 


9. Valtteri Bottas Has An Amazing Car Collection

With an approximate net worth of $30 million from his time at Williams, Mercedes, performance bonuses, numerous endorsements, and other successful business ventures, it comes as no surprise that a top Formula One driver such as Valtteri Bottas would have a world-class garage.

Some of Valtteri Bottas’ cars include:

  • A Mclaren 675LT (valued at $350 000),
  • A Williams FW36 (gifted to Valtteri Bottas for his maiden podium finish at the 2014 Austrian Grand Prix upon leaving Williams in 2017),
  • A 1992 Ferrari F40 (valued at $700 000),
  • A Mercedes Benz C63 AMG (valued at $113 000),
  • A Mercedes AMG GT (valued at $112 000), and
  • A farewell gift from Mercedes (see fact twelve below for further details!)

With the exception of the classic Ferrari, it would seem that Valtteri Bottas has some customer loyalty to the Mercedes brand (and by extension, Mclaren), but only time will tell if he’s looking to add an Alfa Romeo to his collection in the near future!


10. Valtteri Bottas Is A Punk Rock Fan

While Valtteri Bottas may appear at times to have a serious demeanor, this is considered a common quirk among Finnish racing drivers, meaning they may be a lot more relaxed than they may initially appear.

Generally speaking, Valtteri Bottas is considered a jovial and fun-loving guy, which seems to have influenced his taste as a punk rock fan and, in particular, his favorite band, The Offspring.

In fact, he’s gotten to know the band members personally over the years, as described in his 2020 interview with Chris Medland:

“I got to meet the guys in August last year and I went to see them in the Czech Republic and I got to properly meet them and chat to them. They were my favorite childhood band, and I always have one or two of their songs on my playlists.”

So next time you see Valtteri Bottas looking grim and trying to psych himself up before a big race, just know his earphones are probably blaring “The Kids Aren’t Alright” or “You’re Gonna Go Far, Kid” – Rock on Valterri!


11. Valtteri Bottas Is A Keen Rally Driver

While many professional drivers have plied their trade in other motorsports with varying degrees of success, few have done so as passionately and successfully as Valtteri Bottas has in rally driving.

With Finland being the home to seven World Rally Champions, as well as the legendary Henri Toivonen whose memorial site Valtteri Bottas has publically attended and posted about on social media, there’s no denying Valtteri Bottas takes his rally inspiration from his fellow countrymen.

Valtteri Bottas’ achievements in rallying since his debut in 2019 include:

  • A race win and fifth overall in the 2019 Arctic Rally,
  • First place at the 2019 Paul Ricard-based Rally circuit Cote d’Azur,
  • Ninth overall in the 2020 Arctic Rally, and
  • A podium placement and sixth overall in the 2021 Arctic Rally.

On the back of three consecutive top-ten finishes in the Arctic Rally, Valtteri Bottas had the following to say:

“I always feel that when I go rallying, it kind of backs up something else in terms of your driving skills. I think it’s important to keep your car control skills in a good shape during the winter break so for me, it’s certainly a benefit.”

While it’s yet to be seen whether Valtteri Bottas will continue his annual Arctic Rally participation or expand into more rallying competitions in the future, his natural talent as a racer has shone through in rallying while also helping him to keep engaged during his Formula One offseason.


12. Valtteri Bottas Got A Unique Farwell Gift

As a beloved and highly successful member of Mercedes’ Formula One team, having helped steer Mercedes to a 100 Constructors championship run over his five years at the team, it’s no surprise that Mercedes would want to give him a big send-off.

While Valtteri Bottas’ farewell consisted of a fireworks display, music, lighting, and an open-top car ride, all of which can be watched via the link below:

The pièce de résistance would be his farewell gift from Mercedes to add to his already packed garage, that being a Mercedes W08, the car driven by Valtteri Bottas when he achieved his maiden Formula One victory at the 2017 Russian Grand Prix.

On his podcast “Speaking Frankly About Me,” Valtteri Bottas went on to say:

“It was a little surprise but a nice gift. Now I just don’t have anywhere to put it. I was stunned myself when I saw what kind of send-off they had organized for me – a parade, fireworks and music. I realized they also appreciated what I had done for the team.”

While it’s unlikely we’ll be seeing Valtteri Bottas driving his Mercedes W08 through the streets of Monaco soon, there’s no denying it will make a fine companion piece to his Williams FW36.

Here’s hoping Valtteri Bottas can complete a treble of Formula One cars in his garage during his time at Alfa Romeo!


13. Valtteri Bottas Is One Of F1’s Best Wingmen Ever

Although Valtteri Bottas is a fantastic driver in his own right, having secured ten victories, twenty pole positions, and a pair of world champion runner-up spots during his five years at Mercedes, there’s no denying he’s a team player first and foremost.

While being the “number two” driver at Mercedes has led to some frustration over the years (see our final fact below), he has gone on record to say that he has a cordial and professional relationship with Lewis Hamilton, who referred to Valtteri Bottas as the “greatest Formula One teammate of all time.”

Statistically speaking, the best “wingman” of all time remains Rubens Barrichello, who helped steer Ferrari and Michael Schumacher – as well as Jenson Button at Brawn to a combined total of twelve titles (six constructor’s championships and six driver’s championships.)

However, Valtteri Bottas remains a close second, having helped steer Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton to a combined total of nine titles (five constructor’s championships and four driver’s championships.)

Here’s hoping that Valtteri Bottas continues to go from strength to strength at Alfa Romeo and capitalize on his “number one” driver position in the team.


14. Valtteri Bottas Has Mixed Feelings About Mercedes

Despite Valtteri Bottas’ overwhelming success at Mercedes, there’s no denying that the structure of the team left something to be desired, given Valtteri Bottas’ meteoric success leading up to his signing in 2017 and his championship ambitions:

“[I have] mixed feelings. Obviously when I joined the team in 2017, the only thing on my mind was to win the drivers’ championship,”

Since departing Mercedes, Valtteri Bottas has become more explicit and outspoken about Mercedes one-year contract driver policies and internal politics:

“If you feel like there is a knife in your throat, then the mind doesn’t always work correctly.”

Fortunately, Valtteri Bottas has come on record to say that he is enjoying his time much more at Alfa Romeo, which bodes well for his mental wellbeing and hopefully his performances with his new team:

“I can say that I have laughed and smiled much more since I made the Alfa Romeo announcement. [My] wellbeing has improved to different levels in all aspects”.


Conclusion

As one of Formula One’s most popular drivers, with various hobbies and interests, and a somewhat checkered history with his previous team, there’s no doubt that this talented racer will serve up excitement and entertainment for years to come!  


References